Woman who boasted of joining in Capitol riot admits guilt in plea deal
WASHINGTON - A Texas woman who was charged in the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol and boasted on social media, "Hell yes, I'm proud of my actions," pleaded guilty Wednesday to a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail.
Jenny Cudd, a 36-year-old florist and former mayoral candidate in the western Texas city of Midland, is one of more than 600 people charged so far in what federal authorities have called the largest investigation in U.S. history. She is among more than 70 defendants who have pleaded guilty in deals with the U.S. attorney's office in the District.
Appearing in U.S. District Court in Washington via video from Texas, Cudd pleaded guilty to entering and remaining in a restricted building. In return, Assistant U.S. Attorney Amanda Fretto said, the government will move to dismiss several other charges against her, including a felony count, at her March 18 sentencing hearing.
Although the crime that Cudd pleaded guilty to carries a jail term of up to a year, Fretto and defense attorney Marina Medvin agreed that federal sentencing guidelines in the case call for a maximum of six months behind bars and possibly no incarceration. However, Judge Trevor McFadden warned Cudd before her plea that he has the power to impose a tougher sentence than the guidelines recommend.
Cudd was among a mob of supporters of President Donald Trump who stormed the Capitol in a riot that forced the evacuation of the building, disrupted Congress's confirmation of President Joe Biden's election victory and left five people dead. The charges she initially faced were punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
The FBI said Cudd boasted about the attack in a Facebook video: "We just pushed, pushed, and pushed, and yelled go and yelled charge. We just pushed and pushed, and we got it. . . . We got up to the top of the Capitol and there was a door open and we went inside. . . . We did break down [House Speaker] Nancy Pelosi's office door and somebody stole her gavel and took a picture sitting in the chair flipping off the camera."
Several months ago, before agreeing to the plea bargain, Cudd asked a judge to order a change of venue for her scheduled trial. Medvin argued at the time that a jury drawn from a pool of registered voters in the overwhelming Democratic city of Washington could not render a fair verdict in her client's case. She said Cudd wanted her trial to be held in a federal court in more Trump friendly western Texas.
As of last month, of the hundreds of defendants charged in the riot, 78 were in jail awaiting trials, with a majority of those still detained accused of assaulting police officers or some of the worst violence seen that day. Cudd was granted conditional release after her arrest and remains free pending her sentencing.
In court, after Fretto described Cudd's half-hour in the Capitol and read portions of her Facebook remarks, McFadden asked if the assertions were accurate.
"Yes, sir," Cudd replied.
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