A couple who had been living in New Castle and running a McKees Rocks cleaning company was sentenced last week for their roles in storming the U.S. Capitol in support of then-President Donald Trump’s election lies, which he is still repeating while facing four criminal cases of his own.

Phillip Vogel, 35, who now lives in Monessen, received a month behind bars, and Debra Maimone, 30, formerly of New Castle, got probation. They were both ordered to pay $1,806 in restitution for police equipment they stole.

Both were seen on video shoving past police, forcing open a door and pilfering protective masks and hoods from police bags. They later bragged online about what they did.

The couple, who had operated Vera General Contracting and Cleaning Services, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor counts.

Prosecutors asked the judge, Randolph Moss, to give Vogel five months in prison and Maimone probation. Vogel’s lawyer wanted home confinement for his client, saying he didn’t intend to overturn the election and shouldn’t be “lumped” in with right-wing extremists.

Vogel and Maimone, who are engaged, drove to Washington, D.C., for Trump’s rally and then entered the Capitol building with the mob, where Vogel recorded rioters and took video of Maimone on his phone. When Maimone pulled down her face mask to say, “It’s amazing,” he told her to put it back on because “I don’t want them to see you.” Later that day, Maimone posted a video on her Parler account, called “TrumpIsYourPresident1776,” showing her standing in the Capitol Crypt.

The pair walked up the stairs to the third floor toward the Senate Gallery, where Vogel kicked one of the doors but didn’t break it open. Maimone continued to record everything on her phone. They entered the Senate Gallery and left after a couple of minutes. In the hallway, they found a bag marked “Police” and stole protective gear from it.

In all, they were inside the Capitol for 24 minutes and stole police equipment from three locations.

After the insurrection, the pair incriminated themselves further on social media.

When another user on Parler told Maimone she had been in the building illegally, she called the person a “stupid couch potato” and said she watched a “ton of patriots that were fed up” with being attacked by “tyrants” for trying to peacefully protest.

For his part, Vogel went on Facebook to talk to his pals and protested when one of them said Trump should be punished for inciting the riot, replying that “you and many others better pray they get their [expletive] together. If they don’t you’ll live to see the next revolution.” He also called for the removal of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and said the 2020 election was a “bullshit election.”

Despite that bravado, during an interview with the government earlier this month pursuant to their guilty pleas, Vogel and Maimone expressed remorse, prosecutors said.

Vogel’s lawyer, Allen Orenberg, asked for no prison, saying his client didn’t intend to overturn the election or subvert democracy but only to peacefully protest what he believed at the time to be a fraudulent election. He said Vogel has already suffered from his conduct on Jan. 6.

“His actions have placed him on the news in every living room, not only in his home city in Pennsylvania but in the entire country, with many having lumped him together with right wing extremists,” Orenberg said.

Maimone’s public defender, Elizabeth Mullin, said Maimone had started her own cleaning and construction company in 2018, but COVID restrictions and negative reactions over the insurrection forced her to shut it down.

After attending the Trump rally, Mullin said, Maimone was “energized” by the crowd but regrets entering the building and participating in the rioting.

“She is ashamed that she was part of it,“ Mullin said.

Vogel and Maimone are among some two dozen people from the Pittsburgh region charged in the insurrection. The total caseload is well over 1,000, and the FBI continues to arrest more defendants.

Trump, meanwhile, is facing two criminal prosecutions — one federal and one in Georgia — over his role in trying to overturn the election.

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.