Woman who took private jet to Capitol riot and attacked journalists’ equipment pleads guilty

·2-min read

A woman who travelled by private jet to what became the January 6 Capitol attack has pleaded guilty to offences she committed in the course of the riot.

Texas woman Katherine Schwab, who was identified in security camera footage taken inside the Capitol building during the riot, struck a deal with prosecutors under which she owned up to a charge of “Engaging in Disruptive or Disorderly Conduct in a Restricted Building or Grounds”.

Schwab’s case was notable not just because of her luxurious journey to Washington on 5 January 2021, but because she was among a group that included infamous rioter Jenna Ryan – a realtor who notoriously tweeted after the riot: “Sorry I have blonde hair, white skin, a great job, a great future, and I’m not going to jail.”

Ryan, who posted extensively on social media both before and after the attack, was later sentenced to jail.

The criminal complaint filed against Schwab last year lays out numerous social media posts showing her on the plane to Washington, and includes screenshots showing Schwab “inside the Capitol building near the Rotunda door and attempting to walk through the crowds”.

Jenna Ryan (left) and Katherine Schwab (right) en route to Washington, DC on 5 January 2021 (FBI)
Jenna Ryan (left) and Katherine Schwab (right) en route to Washington, DC on 5 January 2021 (FBI)

The compaint also references an exchange on Facebook after the riot in which she tells another user that she got “a little further” than the steps of the building, and that she had seen members of the National Guard inside but not doing anything to turn back the crowd.

According to the complaint, Schwab claimed to have been pushed into a lobby area by the force of the crowd, and told agents that she asked a Capitol Police Officer to help her escape the building.

However, the statement of offence Schwab agreed to accept as accurate under the plea deal says Ms Schwab “told law enforcement that she knew she wanted to enter the Capitol”.

“After leaving the Capitol building,” reads the statement, “Schwab located [her friend and codefendant Jason Lee] Hyland and [Jenna] Ryan. Ryan recorded a short video of the group, where Schwab stated, “I went into the f***ing Capitol. . . . I made my movement. I stood my ground”...

“Video recovered from Hyland’s and Schwab’s phones includes a recording of U.S. Capitol Police pushing a crowd from the exterior of the Capitol, while Schwab calls the police “traitors,” “sheep,” and “pathetic,” among other insults. In the recording, Schwab states, “You want a revolution, the revolution’s gonna come . . . you want a f***ing revolution, it’ll happen.”

Before departing Capitol grounds, Schwab joined other members of the crowd in kicking and throwing media equipment, the statement added.

Schwab will be sentenced on 9 December this year.