Four more Capitol rioters plead guilty

By Hannah Rabinowitz and Holmes Lybrand | CNN

Four people have pleaded guilty to charges stemming from the riots in the US Congress of January 6, 2021, adding to the growing number of defendants who have claimed responsibility for their part in the attack.

To date, 25% of the more than 720 Capitol riot defendants have pleaded guilty to federal crimes, most of whom have not been charged with violence or vandalism inside the Capitol building, and 76 defendants have been charged sentenced, according to the latest statistics of CNN.

On Monday, Emily Hernandez, a college student photographed holding a fragment of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office sign victorious over her head on January 6, pleaded guilty to unlawful entry of the Capitol. According to the plea agreement read aloud in court, Hernandez went to the Capitol building with his uncle and a friend.

Hernandez admitted to taking home the broken sign, in addition to a red “Keep Off Fence” sign, a pin and fire extinguisher tag and a “Please Don’t Touch” sign from the base of the statue inside the Capitol. She returned all stolen signs to investigators at the end of January.

She faces a maximum prison sentence of one year.

Days before pleading guilty, Hernandez was accused of being involved in a fatal drunk driving accident in her home state of Missouri. Local reports said Hernandez was intoxicated and driving on the wrong side of the road when he collided with another vehicle, killing a 32-year-old mother and seriously injuring her husband. Hernandez was also hospitalized.

After the collision, District Judge James Boasberg in Washington, DC, banned Hernandez from drinking and driving, and ordered her to be tested and treated for alcohol and drugs. Hernandez is not currently facing any criminal charges related to the fatal crash.

Paul Colbath on Monday also pleaded guilty to unlawfully protesting in the building. According to prosecutors, Colbath texted his wife that the riot was “wild” and that tear gas was underway. Colbath, once inside the building, assisted another rioter who was sprayed with chemicals, leading him into a back office where he saw broken windows and graffiti in the room. His sentence is set for early April.

A couple at the Capitol during Monday’s riots also pleaded guilty to unlawfully protesting in the building. Initially, the government started investigating Gabriel Burress and Madison Pettit from an online tip and then matched the social media images with those captured by surveillance cameras in the building. The couple was arrested in August.

A convicted rioter

Esther Schwemmer, 56, who went to the Capitol with her friend – who was convicted in December for his part in the riots – was sentenced to two years of probation on Monday.

The Justice Department requested 30 days of home detention, citing that the defendant, Schwemmer, encouraged her friend, Jennifer Parks, to enter the Capitol and up a flight of stairs to the studio.

Schwemmer told Judge Dabney Friedrich she was “deeply ashamed of my actions that day. There’s nothing about it like Christ. … I hope with time (I) can forgive myself. ” Four more Capitol rioters plead guilty

Huynh Nguyen

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