Thursday, December 1, 2022 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Hostility to court will keep Capitol rioter in extended lockup

All she had to do was agree to weekly check-ins with pretrial services. The Pennsylvania pizzeria owner mostly quoted the Bible instead, however, and will remain in jail. 

WASHINGTON (CN) — A woman who tried to overthrow the government on Jan. 6 but did not engage in the deadly violence on Capitol Hill that day snubbed a second chance from the court to avoid jail.  

Charged only with nonviolent misdemeanor crimes related to the Jan. 6 insurrection, Pennsylvania pizzeria owner Pauline Bauer had been previously given pretrial release. Prosecutors called to revoke those privileges last week, however, after she refused to submit to home inspection by pretrial services. 

On Friday, Bauer returned to court for the first time since she was taken away screaming from a hearing after repeatedly interrupting U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden to argue about her rights as what she calls a "sovereign citizen." 

Bauer has insisted on representing herself, but the judge agreed to let Carmen Hernandez, her advisory counsel, file a motion to reconsider detention. Hernandez said Bauer is willing now to abide by the conditions of her release, having been suffering from stress and a lack of sleep in her prior appearance, which followed consecutive shifts at her pizzeria lasting 14 to 16 hours. 

“Counsel respectfully requests that the Court take these circumstances into consideration and release Ms. Bauer to return to her productive and generous activities,” Hernandez wrote. 

The hearing on that motion began this afternoon with Bauer insisting that Hernandez does not speak for her.

“I am Pauline from the house of Bauer. I am a woman and a living soul,” Bauer said, referring to her belief that the U.S. government is illegitimate, and that she is a “sovereign people.”

McFadden mentioned several times that he was comfortable with his decision last week, and that it was up to Bauer to prove to him that she could be released. 

“One of the ways I figure out I can trust you or not is if you follow very basic courtroom decorum, like not interrupting me,” McFadden said. “Your track record so far shows that you think you are above the law and will not abide by conditions of release.”

Bauer argued with the judge when he told her to sit down. She later quoted scripture, saying that her status is defined in Genesis when it says that God created man to have dominion over the land. 

“The Bible is also full of examples of people being subject to dominion over them,” McFadden retorted, referencing a verse in Romans that reads, “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities.”

“I am not a person,” Bauer responded. 

When Hernandez got a turn to speak, she mentioned how difficult it is for Bauer to represent herself while jailed in Washington. According to an update from the this week from federal defender A.J. Kramer, there is a four- to six-week waiting period to review discovery on a laptop. 

“It’s really hard to review discovery, especially if she represents herself,” Hernandez said.

Bauer’s family and friends submitted letters to McFadden on Bauer’s behalf, vouching for her character and referencing her extensive community service. 

“It’s a tragedy that Ms. Bauer has to go back to jail today,” Hernandez said, referencing Bauer’s community ties and restaurant — the source of her income. 

“The defendant is not even acknowledging the motion,” McFadden said. “Your counsel is working hard on your behalf, ma’am.”

Again and again, McFadden asked Bauer if she would abide by the conditions of her release. She replied that she doesn’t understand why she has to. 

“I’m not begging you to do anything,” McFadden said. “You have to convince me. Last chance, are you going to follow my directions, Ms. Bauer?” 

“Judgment day is going to come for all of you who are making money off of mankind,” Bauer replied. 

“I’ll take that as a no.”

Earlier on Friday, a federal judge ripped into another Capitol riot defendant during a court hearing in which Anthony Mariotto pleaded guilty to parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building. 

“You’ve disgraced this country in the eyes of the world and my inclination would be to lock you up, but since the government isn’t asking me to do that ... I won’t,” U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton thundered at Mariotto. 

A George W. Bush appointee, Walton bemoaned the damage to his credibility when he travels internationally to advise other governments on legal issues. 

“America was not great on that day,” Walton said. “I’m sure when I go to other jurisdictions to say how they can be like America, they’ll say, ‘Why should I want to be like America when you all are trying to tear down your own country?’”

When Walton asked Mariotto if he thought that Democrats could tear down the Capitol when they lost an election, Mariotto replied that he did not.

“I found it outrageous that American citizens would do what you did,” Walton said. 

Mariotto could face up to six months in prison but, like other nonviolent offenders who have accepted the same plea deal, is not likely to receive any time behind bars. 

Read the Top 8

Sign up for the Top 8, a roundup of the day's top stories delivered directly to your inbox Monday through Friday.