By MICHAEL KUNZELMAN, Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) – Two friends from Virginia pleaded guilty Tuesday for joining the mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol on January 6.
Cindy Fitchett, 60, and Douglas Sweet, 59, are both jailed with a maximum sentence of six months after pleading guilty to demonstrating, demonstrating, or demonstrating in a Capitol building.
US District Judge Carl Nichols is due to convict her on November 9 during a videoconference hearing.
More than 560 people have been charged with federal crimes resulting from the Capitol Riot. At least 35 of these defendants had pleaded guilty to the riot by Tuesday.
Fitchett and Sweet were part of a group of six arrested by police officers at the Capitol during the siege.
Fitchett and Sweet traveled together from Virginia to attend former President Donald Trump’s rally on Jan. 6 before heading to the Capitol. They were surrounded by a large group of people approaching an entrance to the building shouting and making popping noises, said Justice Department attorney Seth Meinero.
Fitchett taped a video of her shouting, “We’re storming the Capitol! We broke in! “
Sweet told authorities that he had not heard the officers’ orders to leave the Capitol. The FBI has found no evidence that Sweet or Fitchett engaged in violent or disruptive behavior, Meinero said.
After the riot, Sweet told WTKR-TV in Virginia that he had gone to Washington to “speak” to the House of Representatives and the Senate. He also told the television network that he “wanted his voice to be heard” but did not try to prevent Congress from confirming President Joe Biden’s election victory, Meinero noted.
The six people arrested together at the Capitol were also indicted in the same federal trial. Two of these people, Thomas Gallagher and Michael Curzio, pleaded guilty to the same indictment as Fitchett and Sweet in July.
Another co-defendant, Bradley Rukstales, has signed a plea agreement but, according to Meinero, is waiting for a hearing so he can officially plead guilty. A pleading offer is pending for the sixth co-defendant, Terry Brown, the prosecutor said.
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