A Texas realtor who said she would not be jailed for participating in the 6 January Capitol riots because she is white, is now looking at two months behind bars.
Jenna Ryan made headlines earlier this year when she bragged about taking a private jet to the insurrection and called it “one of the best days of my life”.
In the weeks after her arrest, Ms Ryan repeatedly defended her involvement in the violence, sometimes saying she had no regrets and other times suggesting that she was coerced by then-president Donald Trump.
The Justice Department described her actions on the day of the riots and her comments in the months that followed in a memorandum ahead of her sentencing this week, in which prosecutors asked that she spend 60 days in jail.
The memo highlighted a tweet from Ms Ryan’s account in March, which read: “Definitely not going to jail. Sorry I have blonde hair white skin a great job a great future and I’m not going to jail. Sorry to rain on your hater parade. I did nothing wrong.”
Prosecutors cited the attitude portrayed in that post as a key reason to lock Ms Ryan up.
“A defendant who believes she is immune from strict punishment because of her race and physical appearance may reoffend because the consequences for wrongdoing will never, in the defendant’s mind, be severe even when severity is merited,” the memo states.
“Perhaps the most compelling need for specific deterrence arises from the defendant’s misguided belief that she is above the law, or at least insulated from incarceration.”
Prosecutors said Ms Ryan spent the past 10 years promoting herself as “real estate broker, self help coach and media personality” online and then “drew on her considerable experience as a social media influencer to promote violence before her arrival at the Capitol”.
The memo outlines Ms Ryan’s social media posts during the riots, including a photo of herself next to a broken window and live-streamed videos where she declared “I’m going to war,” “Life or death, it doesn’t matter, here we go,” and joined a crowd chanting: “Hang Mike Pence.”
Prosecutors also described comments Ms Ryan made in interviews after her arrest. On 8 January, she told Spectrum News that she went no further than the doorway of the Capitol and that the violence was quelled by the time she got there.
Five days later, she told Fox News: “I did something noble and I’m proud of being there, I have no shame to be there. I feel very persecuted.” And on 18 January she told NBC News that she felt “perfectly innocent” about her involvement and: “I did not know I was breaking the law.”
By February, Ms Ryan changed her tune and told The Washington Post that she “regrets everything” and that she believes Trump lied to her about the 2020 election being stolen. “I bought into a lie, and the lie is the lie, and it’s embarrassing,” she said.
After that interview, Ms Ryan made multiple public statements “reflecting a belief that she is immune from punishment because of her appearance and social status,” prosecutors wrote in the memo.
Those statements included the March tweet and a personal message asserting that she will get off “Scott free,” prosecutors said.
Ms Ryan’s fate now lies in the hands of US District Judge Christopher R Cooper, who will hand down a sentence at 10am on Thursday.
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