A Capitol rioter agreed to a plea deal after posting extensively on Facebook about her time at the insurrection with her husband

·3 min read
Joshua and Jessica Bustle
Joshua and Jessica Bustle, circled, seen inside the Capitol during the insurrection. Department of Justice
  • Joshua and Jessica Bustle pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count in connection to the Capitol riot.

  • Jessica Bustle's Facebook posts about the riot were included in the criminal complaint.

  • The couple faces a maximum sentence of up to six months in prison.

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

A Virginia woman who wrote at length about storming the Capitol in Facebook posts after the January 6 insurrection has taken a plea deal, along with her Realtor husband.

Jessica Bustle
Jessica Bustle. Department of Justice

Joshua and Jessica Bustle appeared virtually in court before US District Judge Thomas Hogan on Monday afternoon, changing their original pleas from not guilty to guilty, WUSA9 reported.

Prosecutors dropped three of the four misdemeanor charges against the couple, leaving only one charge of parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a Capitol building - a charge that has a maximum sentence of six months in prison.

The defense requested that the judge sentence the couple immediately, but Hogan ordered a sentencing report to be completed first.

Hogan said, "I'm not prepared to do sentencing today. I think we have to look at the case a little bit," The Daily Beast reported.

The Bustles are only the third and fourth accused Capitol rioters to plead guilty.

When the couple was first charged in March, prosecutors detailed in their criminal complaint how Jessica Bustle documented the day on social media.

In a lengthy Facebook post, Bustle said she and her husband spent most of the day at the Health Freedom Rally - a protest that featured anti-vaccine activists - before heading to the Capitol and walking into the building.

Despite footage of clashes between protesters and the Capitol Police, Bustle wrote that there was "no violence" and promoted the unfounded theory that "antifa puppets infiltrated the rally."

Jessica Bustle Facebook post
One of Jessica Bustle's Facebook posts about the January 6 riot. Department of Justice

Bustle also wrote about witnessing "an unarmed peaceful woman" being "shot" in the neck "by cops," an apparent reference to the death of the protester Ashli Babbitt.

Speaking in court on Monday, Bustle said the Facebook posts included in the criminal complaint only showed one side of her.

She said: "I'm admitting guilt to the things that I said, and I'm sorry for saying them. There were also other things that were said in posts that were kind, like 'Pray for America,' that weren't included. Those weren't the full things that I wrote. But I am admitting guilt," The Washington Post reported.

As part of the couple's plea agreement, the Bustles each face the possibility of prison time and a fine of up to $5,000, The Daily Beast reported. They have also agreed to pay restitution of $500 each.

Nabeel Kibria, Jessica Bustle's attorney, told The Post that the couple just wanted to get on with their lives.

"They're just a good, salt-of-the-earth couple," Kibria said. He added, "They were into social media before, and realize all the pitfalls of that and want to put this in their past."

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