By: KDKA-TV News Staff
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A judge released Capitol assault suspect Rachel Powell of Mercer County on home monitoring and $10,000 unsecured bond pending trial. The judge ruled she is not a flight risk or a threat to the community.
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U.S. District judge Lisa Lenihan said she was shocked and appalled by Powell’s alleged actions, calling them crimes against democracy that put elected officials’ lives at risk. But saying her guilt or innocence is for another judge on another day, Lenihan decided to release Powell to be with her children.
The government is appealing the release with a decision due Wednesday, arguing Powell’s alleged actions make her a violent threat to the community, displaying pictures of confiscated ammunition and revealing she owns an AK47 assault-type rifle and a Glock semi-automatic handgun.
The government also argued Powell is a flight risk. An FBI agent testified she had been at large, leaving her young children unattended at home when she was at the Capitol and then handing them over to her estranged husband on Jan. 30 without word of where she was going. She did not resurface until her arrest in New Castle last week.
But her attorney Michael Engle argued the is no evidence Powell threatened any one person in D.C. and has no history of violence. He noted her firearms are legally owned and maintained she is no risk of flight.READ MORE: Live Winter Storm Tracker: Winter Storm Blankets Pittsburgh Region With Heavy Snowfall
“My client is a 40-year-old single mother who home schools her children. She has strong ties to the community. She has never indicated she wants to flee and never see her children again. She needs to be back with her children,” said Engle.
The mother of eight turned herself in last week after the FBI raided her home in Mercer County.
At the detention hearing, an FBI agent described the scene during the violent attack on Jan. 6: “Smoke was everywhere. Broken windows and doors. Blood on the floor. More of a crime scene than the US Capitol.”
The agent testified that Powell used her bullhorn to give details about the Capitol layout and motivate insurrectionists to take the building.
She can clearly be seen in videos taking a battering ram to the Capitol in the Jan. 6 assault. She’s become known as the lady with the bullhorn, seeming to have knowledge of the Capitol building’s floor plan, instructing insurrectionists where to go.
According to the charging document, the rioters in the room are heard saying, “what’s the floor plan?” and “we need a plan. We need enough people. We need to push forward.” Through her bullhorn, Powell tells them “coordinate together if you are going to take this building” and says you “have another window to break.”MORE NEWS: Bethel Park Football Coach Cancels Weightlifting, Tells Players To Shovel Driveways, Help Neighbors Instead
Now Powell will need to stay in the Butler County Jail until a final decision on her release is made Wednesday, but it appears she will be free to go back to her Mercer County home with her kids pending trial.