A Beverly Hills salon owner who stormed the Capitol wants to rescind her guilty plea to a serious January 6 charge

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·3 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Gina Bisignano
Gina Bisignano shouted into a bullhorn to encourage others to enter the Capitol on January 6US attorney's office
  • Gina Bisignano called out, "We need weapons," over a bullhorn at the Capitol on January 6.

  • She pleaded guilty months before her judge issued a decision favorable to accused Capitol rioters.

  • Bisignano said prosecutors "bullied" her into admitting that she obstructed an official proceeding.

A Beverly Hills salon owner asked Friday to rescind her guilty plea to the most serious charge she faced from the January 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol, arguing that federal prosecutors "bullied" her into confessing in court.

Gina Bisignano had pleaded guilty last year to six charges stemming from the January 6 insurrection, including obstruction of an official proceeding, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. In the court filing asking to undo her guilty plea, Bisignano pointed not only to the pressure she felt from prosecutors but also to a recent ruling in which her judge threw out another January 6 defendant's obstruction charge based on a novel interpretation of the statute.

Bisignano's defense team cited the March decision from Judge Carl Nichols, a Trump appointee, who ruled that the obstruction statute can only stand if a defendant is accused of "some action with respect to a document, record or other object."

Prosecutors have interpreted the statute more broadly to charge accused Capitol rioters with disrupting Congress' certification of the 2020 election results. To date, no other judge on the federal trial court in Washington, DC, has adopted Nichols' narrower reading.

Other judges have described Nicholas' interpretation as "strained" and "unnatural." And earlier this month, Nichols indicated an openness to reconsider, saying he was "very seriously contemplating" a request from the Justice Department to revisit the ruling.

But Bisignano's request underscored how January 6 defendants are nonetheless attempting to seize on the favorable opinion.

Bisignano is set to be sentenced on July 12, and prosecutors have a July 7 deadline to make a recommendation for her punishment.

The request to rescind her guilty plea could result in the cancellation or delay of that sentencing. But it is generally difficult for criminal defendants to withdraw guilty pleas.

Lawyers for Bisignano argued that she lacked a full understanding of the obstruction charge at the time of her guilty plea, rendering it "void." During the plea hearing, her lawyers said, Bisignano "indicated her discomfort with the Statement of Offense," in which prosecutors accused her of entering the Capitol through a window and encouraging others to follow her.

From a windowsill, she shouted into a bullhorn, yelling, "They will not steal our votes."

According to court papers, she also shouted: "We the people are not going to take it anymore. You are not going to take away our Trump Bear. You are not going to take away our votes."

Statement of offense Gina Bisignano
Prosecutors quoted lines Gina Bisignano shouted to encourage other members of the pro-Trump mob on January 6.Justice Department

Read the original article on Business Insider