A Pennsylvania restaurant owner who screamed death threats directed at then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi while storming the US Capitol was sentenced on Tuesday to more than two years in prison.
Pauline Bauer was near Ms Pelosi’s office suite on January 6, 2021, when she yelled at police officers to bring out the California Democrat so the mob of Donald Trump supporters could hang her.
In January, US District Judge Trevor McFadden convicted Bauer of riot-related charges after hearing trial testimony without a jury. The judge sentenced her to two years and three months of imprisonment, giving her credit for the several months she already has served in jail, court records show.
Prosecutors had recommended a prison sentence of six years and six months for Bauer, 55, of Kane, Pennsylvania.
Bauer was part of the mob that forced police officers on the East Plaza to retreat. After forcing her way into the Capitol, she accosted officers who were trying to secure the Rotunda, shoving one of them, and yelled at police to “bring them out or we’re coming in”, according to federal prosecutors.
“They’re criminals. They need to hang,” she screamed. “Bring Nancy Pelosi out here now. We want to hang (her). Bring her out.”
Other rioters shouted threats against Ms Pelosi while they roamed through the Capitol.
“Bauer’s threat to hang Speaker Pelosi was real, imminent and placed the Speaker of the House in danger,” prosecutor James Peterson wrote in a court filing.
Bauer travelled from her north Pennsylvania home to attend then-president Donald Trump’s “Stop the Steal” rally in Washington on January 6. She had attended a “Stop the Steal” rally in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, a day earlier.
She came to Washington with at least five other people who have been charged in the Capitol riot, including co-defendant William Blauser, who pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge. Last year, Judge McFadden ordered Blauser to pay a 500 dollar (£400) fine but did not sentence him to any term of incarceration or probation.
Judge McFadden convicted Bauer of all five counts in her indictment, including a felony charge that she obstructed the January 6 joint session of Congress that certified President Joe Biden’s 2020 electoral victory.
Defence lawyer Komron Jon Maknoon said Bauer never intended to interfere with the process of certifying the Electoral College vote. She “genuinely regrets her past actions” and does not pose a threat to the public, her lawyer said.
“The international spotlight showcasing her at her worst has deeply affected her,” he wrote.
Prosecutors said Bauer lied during her trial testimony, giving a bogus explanation for her confrontation with police and claiming she did not remember threatening Ms Pelosi.
Bauer has used “sovereign citizen” extremist rhetoric and filed “nonsense” court documents while defending herself, prosecutors said.
More than a year before the trial, Judge McFadden ordered Bauer to be jailed for several months for violating conditions of her release. She had claimed the court has no authority over her and told the judge that she does not want “any lawyering from the bench”.
During an interview in 2021, Bauer said her arrest on Capitol riot charges led to a mixed reaction from neighbours in Kane, a small town on the edge of the 517,000-acre Allegheny National Forest.
“A lot of people say that they’re proud of me for standing up for my rights,” she told The Associated Press.
Bauer said her restaurant, Bob’s Trading Post, was thriving before the Covid-19 pandemic. She became known in her hometown as an outspoken critic of lockdown measures that cost her business.
More than 1,000 people have been charged with federal crimes for their conduct on January 6. More than 500 of them have been sentenced, with more than half receiving terms of imprisonment ranging from one week to 18 years.