An anti-masker who stormed the US Capitol during the insurrection on 6 January claimed a mesh face covering she wore was not done to mock the court or show her disapproval of coronavirus policies, but rather to pay homage to the singer Lana Del Ray.
Rachel Powell, one of the individuals who was arrested for participating in the Capitol riot in January, appeared in a video wearing a see-through, mesh mask.
Prior to the video, a judge ruled that anytime she leaves her home, she must wear a mask.
US District Judge Royce Lamberth asked Ms Powell to explain the ineffective face mask and her apparent flouting of the court order she had been given. He claimed that she was mocking the order she had been given.
Ms Powell's attorney called her decision “clearly unwise” in a filing made on Monday, but said her intent was not to mock the orders she was given, but rather to express her fandom for singer Lana Del Ray, who wore a similar style of mask.
The lawyer said Ms Powell had “seen stories about a singer, Lana Del Rey, who fashioned a clear plastic barrier under a see-through fabric for a public book signing event”.
He described it as a “poor choice in wearing the mask at issue, however it was not done with a bad intent”.
The singer apparently wore a similar mask, which had a clear plastic element beneath a mesh outer layer. The performer was criticised at the time after wearing the mask to a book signing, but her defenders pointed out the mask had the plastic layer, making it effective at blocking particles.
"The mask had plastic on the inside. They’re commonly sewn in by stylists these days. I don’t generally respond to articles because I don’t care. But there ya go. Same goes for everyone’s masks in my video. I’m lucky enough to have a team of people who can do that," she wrote on Twitter following the incident.
Ms Powell's lawyer told the court that his client was “committed to wearing only masks that are clearly and obviously compliant, such as the masks described by members of her community who have interacted with her at work and at religious services”.
In the aftermath of the Capitol riot, Ms Powell became known as the “bullhorn lady” for the bullhorn she allegedly carried during the event.
She is accused of at one point using a battering ram in the fray and of shouting orders to other rioters through her bullhorn.
Ms Powell has pleaded not guilty to eight felony charges that include destruction of federal property and obstruction of a federal proceeding.
Investigators claim she used her battering ram to destroy a window on the day of the attack.
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