Jul. 30—An Arbuckle woman accused of participating in the siege of the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. in January has pleaded guilty.
Valerie Ehrke virtually appeared before Judge Paul L. Friedman in late June for an arraignment hearing, in which she entered a guilty plea to one count of parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building.
Ehrke had originally entered a plea of not guilty in March, but she changed her plea after parties informed the court of a possible disposition in this case at a status conference in May.
According to court documents, Ehrke was arrested on Jan. 19 after an anonymous caller provided information to the Federal Bureau of Investigation that she had posted videos on her Facebook page of herself inside the U.S. Capitol building during the siege on Jan. 6.
Investigators also discovered, according to court documents, that Ehrke had departed Sacramento International Airport on Jan. 5 and flew to Reagan National Airport in Arlington, Virginia — right next to the border of Washington, D.C. She also made a return trip to Sacramento on Jan. 9.
Based on information obtained during an interview with Ehrke and the video evidence found on Facebook, an affidavit was submitted to show probable cause to show Ehrke was guilty of violating 18 U.S.C. Section 1752 (a)(1) and (2).
The case has now been referred to the Probation Office for a Presentence Investigation Report and a sentencing hearing is set for Sept. 9, via Zoom.
To date, more than 535 defendants have been arrested in connection to the Jan. 6 attack and almost 495 defendants have been charged with entering or remaining in a restricted federal building or grounds, according to a release issued by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia. Of those, more than 55 people have been charged with entering a restricted area with a dangerous or deadly weapon, over 35 defendants have been charged with destruction of government property and almost 30 defendants have been charged with theft of government property.
"Approximately 10 individuals have pleaded guilty to a variety of federal charges, from misdemeanors to felony obstruction, many of whom will face incarceration at sentencing," it was stated in the release.
Each case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia.
"The Department of Justice's resolve to hold accountable those who committed crimes on January 6 has not, and will not, wane," it was stated in the release.