Jenna Ryan, 51, pleaded guilty to illegally demonstrating inside the Capitol building on January 6. She agreed to pay $500 in restitution for damage done to the Capitol during the riot. Prosecutors have cut the same deal for other low-level defendants who weren’t violent or destructive inside the building.
She could face a sentence of up to six months in prison, according to her agreement with prosecutors read at her plea hearing on Thursday, though it is likely Ryan will be ordered to serve much less, or even no jail time, when she is sentenced in November.
Ryan’s plea comes as prosecutors ramp up efforts to resolve cases against defendants that face lesser charges, with four more defendants scheduled to plead guilty this week.
In March, Ryan tweeted that she is “definitely not going to jail. Sorry I have blonde hair white skin a great job a great future and I’m not going to jail… I did nothing wrong.” Though defendants are not required to show remorse, federal prosecutors have said in other cases they’re looking for contrition from the insurrectionists, and it could persuade a judge to show leniency at sentencing.
According to court documents, Ryan and two friends took a private jet to Washington, DC, to attend the Stop the Steal rally. After the rally, Ryan went back to her hotel room. But when she saw Vice President Mike Pence presiding over the certification of the Electoral College vote on TV, the group decided to go to the Capitol.
“We’re gonna go down and storm the Capitol,” Ryan said as she livestreamed herself walking to the building, adding “that’s why we came and so that’s what we’re going to do.” Ryan continued to livestream as she entered the building with the mob.
In the days after the attack, Ryan stayed defiant. She tweeted, “We just stormed the Capital. It was one of the best days of my life,” prosecutors say, and told a Dallas TV station that she deserved a pardon from Trump.
But a few weeks later, Ryan told the Washington Post that she “bought into the lie” and “I regret everything.”
“Not one patriot is standing up for me,” Ryan told the Washington Post. “I’m a complete villain. I was down there based on what my president said. ‘Stop the steal.’ Now I see that it was all over nothing. He was just having us down there for an ego boost. I was there for him.”
The Justice Department has charged more than 575 people in the massive Capitol riot investigation. So far, 38 people have plead guilty to federal charges.