Court Battles

Capitol rioter could face jail time for ignoring court order mandating she wear a mask

A woman who allegedly stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 is facing possible jail time as a judge is asking her to explain a possible violation of an order to wear a mask while she awaits trial.

U.S. District Court Judge Royce Lamberth in a ruling Friday demanded an answer from Rachel Powell over her mesh mask, which he said "mocks" a requirement from the court's chief judge, Beryl Howell, that was issued after Powell was released in February that "Defendant must wear a mask whenever she leaves her residence." 

"The court does not take the defendant's willingness to flout the court's order lightly," Lamberth wrote.

Lamberth's rebuke comes after a video surfaced showing Powell wearing what appeared to be a white mesh mask that does not follow federal guidance on proper face coverings.

According to a February piece in The New Yorker, Powell has been a vocal opponent of mask-wearing.

Lamberth in his ruling also panned Powell's defense attorney after Powell told a Pretrial Services officer that she threw her mask away per her lawyer's advice.

"I have to review the matter with my client and file a response with the Court. However, I can state with absolute certainty that the characterization of any legal advice I may have provided to my client is not accurate," the attorney, Michael Engle, responded to Politico.

Powell faces a number of charges related to her participation in the Jan. 6 insurrection that unsuccessfully sought to halt Congress's certification of the Electoral College's results of the 2020 presidential race. Among them are obstruction of Congress, engaging in violence with an ice axe and wooden pole while in the Capitol, and felony destruction of government property.

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