The Pennsylvania woman known as “Bullhorn Lady” who appeared to help direct rioters at the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol is getting a new attorney.
Rachel Powell is one of the more infamous figures to emerge from the Jan. 6 breach, when hundreds of Donald Trump supporters overran police and breached the building in an attempt to stop the congressional count of Electoral College votes and block the certification of Joe Biden’s win in the 2020 presidential election.
Powell also made headlines since her arrest. In April, she very publicly appeared to defy Chief U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell’s order that she wear a mask whenever she left her residence as a condition of her pretrial release by wearing a “mesh mask” described in a court document as having “holes in it large enough to see defendant’s nose and mouth.”
Powell’s then-attorney Michael Engle helped her avoid being sent back to jail, successfully arguing that his client was merely paying homage to singer Lana Del Rey, who wore a mesh face mask to a fan event in October 2020.
Engle also said in a filing that his client was sorry for “her poor choice and her unwise conduct in this matter. It was not Ms. Powell’s intention to mock compliance with her condition of release or to flout the Court’s Order lightly.”
Senior U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth, who had ordered Powell to explain why she shouldn’t be jailed for the mesh mask stunt, said at the time that he was “satisfied” with Powell’s apology and promise to wear a properly protective mask going forward.
Engle also secured Powell’s pretrial release, describing her as a single mother of eight children with “significant roots in her community” and “neither the financial means, nor the motive, to flee from prosecution in this matter.”
At a status conference hearing Friday, Engle confirmed to Lamberth that Powell was in the process of getting another attorney, although he did not provide an explanation as to why.
“I trust that the Court received my letter,” Engle said to Lamberth, indicating that the letter explained the situation. “Ms. Powell is seeking to retain new counsel … perhaps as early as next week.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Lucy Sun told Lamberth that Powell is still considering the terms of the government’s plea offer. According to a report from Pittsburgh CBS affiliate KDKA, Powell has been mulling it over since at least November.
Sun said that the government agreed to give Powell another 60 days to review the plea offer with her new attorney.
Prosecutors say Powell used a bullhorn “to instruct others how to further gain control of the Capitol” that day.
“Rachel Powell is clearly seen speaking through a bullhorn and giving very detailed instructions about the layout of the Capitol building to others inside the room,” the arrest warrant affidavit for Powell says. “She can be heard stating that she had just been inside the Capitol building in the adjacent room, and that they should ‘coordinate together if you are going to take this building.’ She also notes that they ‘have another window to break.'”
Prosecutors also saw Powell used a large pipe as a battering ram to break a window of the Capitol building.
Lamberth, a Ronald Reagan appointee, set the next hearing in Powell’s case for March 2.
[Images via Facebook screengrab/FBI/]
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