Rachel Powell, the “pink hat lady” who smashed a window at the Capitol and shouted instructions to other rioters during the 2021 insurrection, was hoping for probation Tuesday at her sentencing in Washington.
She didn’t get it.
U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth gave her 57 months behind bars.
The term was short of the eight years prosecutors wanted but far more than the home detention sentence she and her lawyer had requested.
Powell, 43, formerly of Sandy Lake in Mercer County but now living in Grove City, made a name for herself by wearing a distinctive pink hat while attacking the Capitol and then bellowing orders to other Trump supporters about how best to penetrate the building.
Her escapades were captured on video, forever earning her the name “pink hat lady” and “bullhorn lady” for online sleuths following the insurrection prosecutions, of which there are now over 1,100.
Powell said in court papers that she was sorry, but prosecutors didn’t believe her. The government cited recent social media postings in which she claimed she was a victim of police brutality and shouldn’t go to jail.
The mother of eight said she needs to be home to care for the younger children who still live with her.
But the government said she was an “active and enthusiastic participant” in the Capitol attack and deserves a long time behind bars in part to deter anyone else from political violence.
Powell was among the first rioters to break through onto Capitol grounds near the Peace Circle and at the West Plaza pushed against barricades while encouraging other rioters to attack police.
She climbed up the Lower West Terrace and entered the Capitol through a broken window. Later she used an ice ax and a “battering ram” — a length of heavy cardboard tubing – to break another window and give orders to rioters through her bullhorn.
Powell is heard on video inside the Capitol telling the other Trumpers that she’d just been inside an adjacent room and instructing that they should “coordinate together if you are going to take this building.” She also is heard saying the rioters “have another window to break.”
After the riot, Powell went on social media to call for more violence. She also gave an interview to The New Yorker while the FBI was looking for her.
Agents arrested her on Feb. 4, 2021, in Pennsylvania.
In addition to the prison term, the judge gave her three years of probation and ordered her to pay $8,000 for the damage she caused.