More Jan 6 people convicted of "parading"

Mandel Ngan/Pool via AP

The government is continuing its highly “successful” campaign to identify and convict any person that can conceivably be tied in any way to the Capitol Hill riot on January 6th of last year. The latest two people to be dragged before a magistrate and plead guilty were a pair of sisters, Trudy Castle and Kimberly DiFrancesco. The two women freely admitted to having been at the riot and entering the Capitol Building after someone dropped a dime on them to the authorities, pointing to social media footage showing them inside the building. On Wednesday, they both entered their guilty pleas after the prosecution settled on a charge of “misdemeanor parading, demonstrating or picketing” in a restricted area. They face sentencing on November 22, when they could get up to six months behind bars. They will also each pay a $500 fine. (CBS News)

Two sisters from Illinois have pleaded guilty to joining the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

Trudy Castle, of Chicago, and Kimberly DiFrancesco, of Elmhurst, both pleaded guilty Wednesday to one count of misdemeanor parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building. They now face up to six months behind bars, although their sentence will be up to a judge. Both also agreed to pay $500 in restitution as part of their plea deals.

The sisters admitted to joining the crowd that broke into the Capitol, disrupting a joint session of Congress to confirm the Electoral College results of the 2020 presidential election.

As we’ve done here with previous January 6 convictions, let’s take a look at what is definitively known about the activities of Castle and DiFrancesco on that day. Both women showed up at the Capitol Building along with the rest of the crowd who walked over from the White House. They were not near the front of the crowd and they remained out on the plaza while the first wave of rioters broke through the windows and doors and began entering the building. The two women followed them inside later.

The CBS News coverage linked above spends more time describing the outfits that the women were wearing that day than anything else. That’s because the videos don’t show much of anything. The women are seen “walking around inside the Capitol.” It appears that at one point DiFrancesco was talking on either a hand-held radio or a cell phone. They entered the building at 2:20 p.m. and left around 3:00. They later considered going back in a second time, but at that point the lines of Capitol Hill Police were blocking the entrances, so they left and went home.

That’s it. That’s the entirety of their “crime wave.” These women are guilty of trespassing, plain and simple. Yes, trespassing in the Capitol Building is against the law, but trespassing, in general, is a crime that is rarely prosecuted without the trespassers engaging in other illegal or violent actions on top of it. When such charges are brought, the perpetrator typically is sentenced to a small fine or, rarely, some community service, particularly when the defendant has no prior police record, which seems to be the case here. But these women weren’t just trespassing in the eyes of the government. They were “parading.” And now they might do six months behind bars.

Granted, it’s a much sweeter deal than Guy Reffitt received for “parading” with a holstered weapon. And it would be far more lenient than the punishment Michael Eckerman will likely receive this year for “shoving and yelling.” But it’s still simply outrageous.

Another woman showed up in court to plead guilty this week. Her name is Katherine Schwab and she’s from Texas. She joined in with the rioters along with her two friends, Jenna Ryan and Jason Lee Hyland. Both of them had already pleaded guilty to “entering the Capitol” and were sentenced to sixty days and one week behind bars respectively.

Schwab was also only seen “walking around” inside the building. NBC News spends most of its coverage of her activities focusing on the fact that she traveled to Washington on a private jet. That’s apparently a “bad thing” if you’re doing it to trespass in the Capitol Building, but not if you’re a climate czar heading to a climate change conference.

Just as a periodic reminder, there were thousands of people who were setting fire to federal court buildings and police cruisers during the BLM riots that unfolded during the summer of love. While some have been arrested and faced some sort of legal consequences, the “thoroughness” of searching out those perpetrators has been a joke compared to what we’re seeing here. And the punishments they received, including the pair of lawyers who literally threw a Molotov cocktail into a police cruiser and handed out firebombs to protesters, was far lighter than the sentences for most J6 rioters. These sentences for the rioters would be shocking under any other circumstances. But the reality is that we now live in an era of selective enforcement of the law and unequal sentencing for similar or identical crimes. It’s the politicization of the justice system and it’s being done right before your eyes.

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