The Justice Department is seeking an eight-year prison sentence for Rachel Marie Powell, a Pennsylvania woman accused of directing rioters into the Capitol building on January 6, 2021. Powell, 41, faces charges including obstruction of an official proceeding, destruction of government property, entering a restricted area with a weapon, and engaging in violence on Capitol grounds.
Federal prosecutors argue that Powell’s conduct on January 6 warrants the lengthy sentence. They cite her violent altercations with law enforcement, her smashing of a window at the Lower West Terrace with an ice axe and a cardboard pole, her encouragement and instructions to other rioters on how to “take” the U.S. Capitol, and her lack of remorse.
Evidence presented by prosecutors includes video footage of Powell instructing people on how to breach the Capitol using a bullhorn. She also provided detailed instructions on the building’s layout when individuals asked for guidance.
In a February 2021 interview with a magazine, Powell admitted to using the bullhorn to direct people at the Capitol. When asked about her conduct that day, she stated, “Listen, if somebody doesn’t help and direct people, then do more people die? That’s all I’m going to say about that. I can’t say anymore. I need to talk to an attorney.”
The ongoing investigation into the January 6 attacks on the Capitol has resulted in charges against more than 1,185 individuals across nearly all 50 states. Approximately 410 people have been charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement.