Feds arrest, charge woman in pink hat during Capitol attack

Federal authorities allege video obtained from the Capitol Riot shows Rachel Powell giving instructions with a bullhorn. (Via Department of Justice)

A Pennsylvania woman was charged with helping to storm the U.S. Capitol, with federal authorities saying she is the person in a pink hat shown in video directing others through a bullhorn about how to gain further control of the building, authorities said Friday.

Rachel Marie Powell was taken into custody Thursday night in New Castle, about 30 miles from her home in Sandy Lake, said Margaret Philbin, a spokesperson for the U.S. attorney in Pittsburgh.

Prosecutors have asked that she remain in custody, asserting she might otherwise flee.

Her lawyer, Michael Engle, of Philadelphia, said Powell is not a flight risk and has neither the means nor the desire to leave her young children.

Engle declined to address the allegations, saying he was reviewing them ahead of a hearing scheduled for Friday afternoon.

He said Powell turned herself in once she knew charges were pending against her.

"She wanted to turn herself in to face these charges and address them head-on," Engle said.

An FBI agent's affidavit on a warrant issued Wednesday said that after a group inside a Capitol room stated they needed a plan, Powell told them "that they should ‘coordinate together if you are going to take this building.' She also notes that they ‘have another window to break.’"


Powell, 40, a mother of eight, also is accused of using a large pipe to break a Capitol window.

The warrant lists charges of violent entry or disorderly conduct, obstruction, depredation of government property, entering a restricted building and being in that building with a dangerous weapon.

Also Friday, a federal judge in Philadelphia ordered a Bucks County man charged this week with assaulting a federal officer during the Capitol siege to remain in federal custody as his case is transferred to D.C.

Ryan Samsel, 37, can request release at a later date, U.S. Magistrate Judge Richard A. Lloret said. Samsel, who was arrested Saturday, is on parole for a separate assault conviction and has an outstanding warrant in New Jersey for an alleged assault from 2019, federal authorities said.

An agent said in a charging document that Samsel and a few other rioters pushed and pulled on a barrier being held by several Capitol officers until it fell, knocking an agent backward onto the ground, where she banged her head. She blacked out and was taken to a hospital.

The agent said Samsel could be seen in videos then joining in a different altercation between rioters and guards and attempting to take a riot shield from one of the officers. Samsel faces other charges, including obstructing an official proceeding.


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