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Wednesday, February 21, 2024
Courthouse News Service
Wednesday, February 21, 2024 | Back issues
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US Capitol Rioters Ask for Pardons After Facing Federal Charges

Two supporters of President Donald Trump who rioted in the U.S. Capitol have publicly pleaded with the outgoing president for pardons as they face federal charges, arguing they were merely following his instructions.

DALLAS (CN) — Two supporters of President Donald Trump who rioted in the U.S. Capitol have publicly pleaded with the outgoing president for pardons as they face federal charges, arguing they were merely following his instructions.

Realtor Jenna Ryan, 50, of Carrollton, Texas, turned herself in to the FBI in Dallas on Friday. Agents say there is probable cause to charge her with knowingly entering a restricted building without authorization and with intent to impede or disrupt government business, according to a six-page statement of facts filed in DC federal court.  

She is also accused of disorderly conduct on Capitol property.

“I would like a pardon from the president,” Ryan told reporters outside of her home after her release Friday evening. “I think that we all deserve a pardon. I’m facing prison and I think I do not deserve that … from what I understand, everyone is going to be arrested that was there, so I think everyone deserves a pardon.”

Ryan went viral after posting images on social media of her flying on a private plane to attend the Jan. 6 speech by Trump at the White House. The president whipped up the crowd by repeating debunked claims that his defeat to President-elect Joe Biden was rigged and that the election was stolen from him.

Trump and several Republican speakers told his supporters to march to the Capitol and urge Republican lawmakers to oppose the certification of Biden’s win. Ryan later posted images of herself on the Capitol steps and beside broken windows when the crowd became violent.

“When the time comes and you looking for somebody to fight for you look no further because I'm gonna be on the front lines,” Ryan tweeted at the time.

Ryan said after her arrest she does not feel “like a criminal” in spite of facing possible prison time.

“Do I feel guilty? No,” she said. “But I do feel wronged in this situation … I do not feel a sense of shame or guilt in my heart for what I was doing. I thought I was following my president, I thought I was doing what I was called to do.”

Ryan denied being “the villain.” She has received nearly two weeks of attention on social media for her participation in the riot. Her real estate brokerage’s website has since been taken down and she has said she will have to close the business. Ryan appears to have deleted her Twitter account several times, only to reactivate it shortly thereafter each time.

“I was displaying my patriotism when I was there, I was just protesting,” Ryan told reporters. “I wasn’t trying to do anything violent and I didn’t realize there was anything violent. It went way out of proportion.”

According to the statement of facts, Ryan live streamed herself on Facebook as she entered the Capitol with other rioters and stated “Ya’ll know who to hire for your realtor, Jenna Ryan for your realtor.” The filing includes two images of Ryan walking inside the building while surrounded. She has previously denied ever entering the building.

Ryan’s plea for a presidential pardon comes one day after the attorney for rioter Jacob Chansley, 33, asked for a pardon for his client. Also known as Jake Angeli and the “QAnon shaman,” Chansley went viral during the riot for wearing furs, a painted face and animal horns while entering the Capitol with a spear while shirtless. 

He was arrested on Jan. 9 and indicted on Jan. 14 in federal court in Phoenix with two felonies and four misdemeanors relating to alleged participation in “a violent insurrection that attempted to overthrow the United States government.”

Chansley’s attorney, Albert Watkins in St. Louis, told CNN that Trump should do the “honorable” thing and pardon him.

“For those that went there with peace in mind, who didn’t go there to be violent, Trump needs to stand up and own these people,” Watkins said. “He owes an obligation to them and our nation.”

Watkins said Trump’s words “meant something” to his supporters and they “had a right to rely on the words of their president.” He said Chansley believed Trump had invited him to enter the Capitol and that he was “answering the call” of his president.

Chansley denies he committed any crime, claiming he was allowed into the building by U.S. Capitol Police who allegedly held the doors open for him.

Follow @davejourno
Categories / Criminal, Government, Politics

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