Judge won't ease release conditions for salon owner facing Jan. 6 riot charges

Supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump gather in Washington
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By Mark Hosenball

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A federal judge on Thursday declined to ease pre-trial release conditions for a Beverly Hills, California, beauty salon owner facing felony charges for participating in the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot.

A. Charles Peruto Jr., lawyer for Gina Bisignano, 52, owner of Gina’s Eyelashes and Skincare, asked U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols in Washington to terminate a house arrest order and to allow his client to remove an ankle bracelet monitor.

Nichols, however, declined to relax Bisignano's release conditions, though he said he might reconsider his position.

According to an FBI document, during the riot Bisignano, using a bullhorn, declared "This is 1776, and we the people will never give up."

The FBI said that as she spoke other members of the crowd sprayed police with a fire extinguisher and attacked their shields "with what appear to be batons."

Bisignano faces seven criminal charges, including obstruction of an official proceeding and civil disorder.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Washington said that as of Wednesday, more than 600 defendants had been arrested on charges related to the riot by supporters of Republican then-President Donald Trump, which erupted as Congress met to certify Democrat Joe Biden's November presidential election victory.

Four people died during the riot, and a Capitol Police officer died the following day.

Also on Thursday, prosecution and defense lawyers told U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan that a plea bargain had been offered to Lewis Cantwell, the 35-year-old former co-owner of a tea shop in Sylva, North Carolina, who faces felony riot charges. The offer is under discussion, the lawyers said.

And during a lengthy status hearing for 16 Jan. 6 riot defendants alleged to be linked to the Oath Keepers militia movement, defense lawyers expressed concern to U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta that government efforts to give them pre-trial access to massive amounts of riot-related evidence would not be completed by Jan. 31. Mehta has tentatively set that as the date for the start of the first of two Oath Keeper-related trials.

(Reporting by Mark Hosenball; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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