A woman charged with breaking into the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, and engaging in disruptive conduct once inside, was convicted just days after a federal judge denied her the opportunity to review newly released security footage.
On Thursday, a federal jury convicted defendant Sara Carpenter of felony counts of civil disorder, obstruction of an official proceeding, and an additional five misdemeanor counts for disorderly behavior and impeding Congress’ activities at the Capitol that day. After less than one day of deliberation, the jury returned a guilty verdict on all seven counts.
Carpenter pled “not guilty” during her case. Just days before the jury verdict, Carpenter’s defense team filed a motion to delay the trial so her team could review Capitol security footage that House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) made available to Fox News and to those facing charges related to the events of Jan. 6.
Carpenter’s lawyers argued that the more than 40,000 hours of surveillance footage McCarthy made available to defendants “is far more than what was previously disclosed by the government and known to exist.” Her lawyers said the government had disclosed some footage, but “there remain temporal gaps in the footage thus far provided between the moments Ms. Carpenter is shown entering and exiting the Capitol.”
On March 3, U.S. District Judge James Boasberg denied Carpenter’s motion to delay the trial. Boasberg, who former President Barack Obama appointed, ruled that Carpenter’s team failed to show that the previously undisclosed footage would support her claims of innocence.
Prosecutors alleged that Carpenter confronted police officers inside the Capitol while shaking a tambourine and screaming. The U.S. Department of Justice said she “pushed up against the officers who were guarding a hallway to the Senate chamber, and slapped the arms of law enforcement officers trying to hold her back from further intruding into the Capitol.”
The prosecutors also alleged that Carpenter remained in the Capitol for 34 minutes after she was instructed to leave. The prosecution’s original statement of facts (pdf) in the case indicated Carpenter had voluntarily offered information about her activities inside the Capitol to investigators and told investigators she was trampled and pepper sprayed while on her way out of the building.
The DOJ said that as Carpenter finally left the building, she said, “the breach was made; it needs to calm down now” and called for Congress to certify the 2020 election results for Donald Trump.
NTD News reached out to Carpenter’s attorneys for comment on the verdict. They did not respond before this article was published.
Other Jan. 6 Defendants Seek Trial Delays
Carpenter is among several defendants from Jan. 6 who requested trial delays after new security footage from that day became available. Carpenter is among the first to have been denied a delay and convicted following McCarthy’s efforts to provide evidence to defendants.
Some defendants have made the availability of security footage a vital issue in handling their cases. One defendant, Victoria C. White, rejected a plea bargain from the DOJ after footage was released showing she was struck around 40 times by police officers and batoned in the head, punched about the head and face, grabbed by the hair, and spun around violently, and tossed back and forth between officers.
“Things are changing,” White told Epoch Times last month. Reflecting on her decision to decline the plea offer, White said, “I honestly never wanted to take it in the first place.”
Charging documents against White say she grabbed an officer who attempted to push her back with his riot shield and fend her off with a baton. However, White’s attorney Joseph McBride has argued the footage shows she was only grabbing out at officers to regain her footing as she was locked in the chaos of the crowd. Use-of-force expert Stan Kephart also told Epoch Times the way White was reaching at officers was “clearly [from] a defense position, not an attack position.”
On Monday, March 6, Fox News host Tucker Carlson shared footage of another Jan. 6 defendant, Jacob Chansley, that appeared to show officers leading Chansley around the building. Carlson described the officers as having acted like “tour guides” for Chansley, who ultimately pled guilty to a count of “obstruction of an official proceeding” and was sentenced to more than three and a half years in prison.
After seeing the footage shared by Carlson, Chansley’s former attorney Albert Watkins told Fox News he had not been able to review this same footage before his client signed a plea agreement. Watkins said he had requested evidence that could support his client’s innocence and, regardless of his requests for the footage, said prosecutors had “an absolute duty” to provide such evidence.