At a plea hearing this week for Capitol rioter Dawn Bancroft, federal Judge Emmet Sullivan starkly condemned comments that Bancroft had made as she moved away from the Capitol complex back in January. At the time, Bancroft said — on a video that she taped and sent to a friend — that, alongside at least one other individual at the Capitol, she’d been “looking for Nancy [Pelosi] to shoot her in the friggin’ brain.” Sullivan characterized Bancroft’s comments as “very troubling,” “horrible,” and “outrageous,” and broadly, the judge also described what unfolded at the Capitol in January as terrorism.
As Sullivan put it:
‘So many people, up until January 6, were outstanding members of the community, never been in trouble… but on January 6, they morphed into, they morphed into terrorists.’
Judge leans into Jan 6 defendant for “outrageous”, “disturbing”, “troubling” thing she said. And raises big warning flag for other defendants yet to face sentencing. My latest reporting ===> pic.twitter.com/A1tIf5YBKr
— Scott MacFarlane (@MacFarlaneNews) September 28, 2021
Sullivan has previously observed the connection between the actions of the rioters on January 6 and the rhetoric and actions of former President Donald Trump, who incited the mob with his months-long campaign to convince his supporters that the presidential election had somehow been stolen from him. As the judge phrased it, participants in the riot perpetrated their individual criminal acts on the basis of “what appears to be a sincerely held, but tremendously misguided, belief that [they were] acting valiantly and patriotically to fight against a tyrannical government that ‘stole’ a presidential election.” Such was, of course, not the case — there has never been any credible evidence for the notion that the election was somehow stolen.
As for Bancroft, she pleaded guilty this week to a single misdemeanor charge of illegally “parading, demonstrating, or picketing” in the Capitol building, which comes with a sentence of up to six months in prison. As summarized by HuffPost, Sullivan “said that the comments will certainly come up at Bancroft’s sentencing in January, and that she should prepare to explain her language at that point because it could have an impact on her sentence.” As the judge also commented, he did not “want to in any way minimize the very troubling nature of a pretty outrageous statement.” Sullivan has previously shared that it was “hard to believe that that this type of conduct [was] taking place at the seat of our democracy.”