U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper said Ryan ― a Texas real estate agent who flew to D.C. on a private plane and promoted her business as she livestreamed in the Capitol ― played a “lesser role in the criminal conduct that took place” than many others did. “But that does not mean that you don’t have any culpability in what happened that day,” Cooper said.
When she chose to leave her hotel room, she knew that she was going to something that wasn’t a peaceful protest, Cooper said.
“I don’t think you could have missed the fact that this was no peaceful protest,” Cooper said. “You were a cheerleader, you cheered it on.”
Ryan, who faced four charges, pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count, admitting she “paraded, demonstrated, or picketed” inside the Capitol when she knew that she didn’t have permission to be there.
“You’re not being singled out for your political views or anything like that,” Cooper said. “It’s how and where you decided to express them.”
In a letter to Judge Cooper, Ryan sought to downplay her actions that day.
“Some actions I took that day were good,” she wrote. “I came to DC to protest the election results. I wanted my voice to be heard. My only weapon was my voice and my cell phone.”
Ryan denied in her letter that a tweet where she wrote that she had “blonde hair white skin a great job a great future and I’m not going to jail” didn’t indicate that she was above the law.
“I wasn’t saying I was above prison, I just felt that it would be unlikely since I was pleading to entering the Capitol for 2 minutes and 8 seconds. Now I realize that was a false notion, but having a false notion does not automatically mean I deserve incarceration,” she wrote. “A tweet of me taking up for myself against a bully who is harassing me does not indicate that I feel above-the-law.”
When Cooper brought up Ryan’s comments on Twitter, Ryan told the judge that she “just shouldn’t tweet.” At the end of the hearing, Judge Cooper also advised Ryan to think about what sources she relied upon for her news in the future.
The FBI has made more than 650 arrests in connection with the Capitol attack, about one-fourth of the total number of potential defendants who committed chargeable conduct that day.