PITTSBURGH (AP/KDKA) — A second federal judge has ruled that the Pennsylvania woman accused of using a large pipe to break a window in the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. and giving directions to fellow insurrectionists about how to take the building may be released pending trial with restrictions.
On Thursday, Judge Beryl A. Howell ruled against pre-trial detention for Rachel Powell — who the FBI says is the woman in a pink hat shown in video shouting instructions through a bullhorn. On Wednesday, U.S. Magistrate Judge Lisa Pupo Lenihan said Powell is a "danger to the community," but that she could be released on $10,000 unsecured bond with home detention and electronic monitoring.
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Prosecutors said Powell should remain locked up before trial.
KDKA's Jessica Guay was at the Butler County Prison on Thursday and did not see Powell leave. KDKA also reached out to Powell's attorney but did not hear back.
Powell, a 40-year-old mother of eight from Sandy Lake, is a "leading participant in the most violent insurrection to occur at the U.S. Capitol in over 200 years," and "fueled a situation that threatened the peaceful transfer of power in the United States," federal prosecutors wrote Wednesday.
Powell's attorney, Michael Engle, argued in court that Powell does not have a criminal record, does not pose a flight risk and did not physically harm anyone during the insurrection.
An FBI affidavit said that Powell was with a group inside the Capitol and provided detailed instructions on the building's layout, telling rioters that "they should 'coordinate together if you are going to take this building.'" Powell also noted that they "have another window to break," the affidavit said.
"She was no onlooker; she perpetrated violence and encouraged others to do the same — all aimed at overcoming law enforcement, intimidating public officials, and undermining the Constitution and the peaceful transfer of presidential power," prosecutors said Wednesday.
Judge Howell appeared torn on Thursday and said the evidence against Powell weighed heavily in favor of pre-trial detention, saying Powell "made no apology, showed on remorse, no embarrassment. She does not appear to even understand the gravity of the offense," related to an interview she did with New Yorker magazine.
Authorities said a search of Powell's house turned up several smashed cellphones and two "go bags," one with ammunition, rope and duct tape and the other with throwing stars, knives and lighters. A bag found in Powell's car had a tarp, zip ties and two loaded magazines for an AK-47 rifle, authorities said.
Powell has been charged with violent entry or disorderly conduct, obstruction, depredation of government property, entering a restricted building and being in that building with a dangerous weapon.
The judge also stipulated that Powell must wear a mask, something that she has been against all year.
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