A McKean County pizza shop owner, who according to the FBI demanded that police bring House Speaker Nancy Pelosi out to be hanged during the Capitol insurrection, has elected to have a judge hear her case instead of a jury.

Pauline Bauer, who claims she is a “sovereign citizen” ungoverned by U.S. law, is set for a bench trial on Jan. 19 in Washington, D.C.

Several Capitol rioters have chosen bench trials, including at least one other from Western Pennsylvania.

It didn’t go well for him.

Robert Morss, a former Army Ranger from Shaler, elected a bench trial before the same judge that has Bauer’s case, Trevor McFadden. He was quickly convicted on counts of assaulting police and is awaiting sentencing. He faces certain prison time.

Bauer, 55, of Kane, Pa., had been indicted along with William Blauser, a Vietnam combat veteran. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to pay a fine.

But Bauer’s case has been more serious and more complicated in part because of her sovereign citizen claims, which she has backed by frequent Bible quotations and her contention that she is a “creation of God” over which the federal government has no power.

The trial, however, promises to be short because Bauer has agreed that the video and cell phone evidence against her gathered by the FBI is authentic. She also has indicated she won’t be raising an insanity defense or trying to offer an alibi.

Bauer and Blauser drove to D.C. to attend the Trump rally on Jan. 6. After Trump told his supporters to “fight like hell,” the pair walked to the Capitol, then pushed their way through the mob and past police to enter the building.

Inside, Blauser held a sign saying “Walk as Free People” and stood near Bauer while she screamed for police to bring out Congress members to be killed, saying “they’re criminals” and “they need to hang.”

In reference to Pelosi, she yelled at police to bring her out so the mob can “hang that f______ bitch,” according to video evidence.

Bauer has repeatedly lambasted the prosecution as “vindictive” but she’s lost several pre-trial motions attempting to damage the government’s case.

Like many other Capitol rioters, she tried to argue to that the certification of the Electoral College on Jan. 6 was not an “official proceeding” of Congress because it didn’t involve the “administration of justice.”

Count 1 in the indictment against Bauer charges her with obstructing an official proceeding. McFadden, like other judges in D.C., rejected her contention that the charge should be dismissed.

The judge has also ordered that Bauer and her lawyer can’t make any references to other Jan. 6 cases during her trial.

Bauer had been arguing that other rioters committed far worse crimes than she did, but the judge agreed with the government that it doesn’t matter.

Bauer has run afoul of judges during her case with her obstinate behavior.

At her June 2021 initial appearance hearing, for example, she had to be removed from the Zoom proceedings because of her “inability to show … decency” to the magistrate judge. She also refused to accept release terms or answer any questions.

Asked if she understand the conditions of her release, she said, “I have no intentions of ever coming back to this godforsaken land. I’m not a danger to my society. I don’t understand because I don’t understand the law. I stand above the law because God gave man the law.”

When the judge told her he was trying to help her get released so she could go home while the case was pending, she told him, “You have no jurisdiction over me. I am sui juris. I am a free living soul alone in God’s creation, but I will not be coming to Washington, D.C., nor will I ever again in my life.”

She also wrote an almost incoherent letter to the court in which she referred to herself as an “ambassador of Christ” and a “free living soul” in refuting the government’s power to detain her.

Despite all of the sparring, Bauer was ultimately released on bond and remains free pending her trial.

She is among some 25 people from Western Pennsylvania charged in the Capitol riot. The total caseload is approaching 1,000 as the FBI continues its investigation.

Trump himself also could be facing charges. On Monday, the Jan. 6 select committee investigating the insurrection referred its findings to the Justice Department, asking prosecutors to pursue a criminal case against Trump on counts of insurrection, obstruction of an official proceeding and conspiracy to defraud the U.S.

Torsten covers the courts for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but he's currently on strike. Reach him at jtorsteno@gmail.com.

Torsten Ove

Torsten covers the courts for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but he's currently on strike. Reach him at jtorsteno@gmail.com.