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Northwest Pa. woman who wanted Pelosi 'to hang' in riot gets 27 months

Jun 01, 2023

Pauline Bauer, a 55-year-old restaurant owner from Kane, in McKean County, made her intentions clear when she stormed the U.S. Capitol with a mob of supporters of then-President Donald Trump on Jan. 6, 2021.

Bauer wanted Nancy Pelosi, then the speaker of the House, "to hang."

Bauer wanted Pelosi to face a noose along with other lawmakers who were in the process of certifying the 2020 presidential election for Joe Biden.

Another Jan. 6 case:OnPolitics: Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes sentenced to 18 years. Why it matters.

"We want Nancy Pelosi," Bauer, who was recorded on police bodycam video, screamed as she stood in the Capitol Rotunda, several feet from Pelosi's office.

"They're criminals. They need to hang. Bring Nancy Pelosi out here now. We want to hang that (expletive). Bring her out."

Bauer's behavior, "put Speaker Pelosi's life in danger," the assistant U.S. attorney who prosecuted Bauer said in a sentencing memorandum in Bauer's case. "Bauer threatened to kill the Speaker of the House of Representatives."

Bauer's threats against Pelosi were among the reasons the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia asked a judge to sentence her to at least 6½ years in federal prison on Tuesday.

The defense asked for a sentence of probation.

U.S. District Judge Trevor N. McFadden came down in the middle.

He rejected the defense's request for probation and sentenced Bauer to two years and three months in federal prison, according to court records.

McFadden also gave Bauer credit for a year she spent in prison, from September 2021 to September 2022, for violating the terms of her pretrial supervision. He ordered her to pay $2,000 in restitution and sentenced her to serve two years of supervised release once she gets out of prison under the new sentence.

Bauer will self-report to prison to start her sentence at a later date, according to the judge's sentencing order. Bauer will remain free on her own recognizance until then.

McFadden convicted Bauer at the end of a two-day nonjury trial on Jan. 24. He found her guilty of the felony of obstruction of an official proceeding and four misdemeanors related to disorderly conduct at the Capitol and disruption of Congress.

Bauer was one of four people the FBI arrested in the Capitol riots who had their initial appearances in U.S. District Court in Erie, which covers McKean County and six other counties in northwestern Pennsylvania. The cases were transferred to federal court in Washington, D.C.

In the other three cases with defendants from northwestern Pennsylvania:

The four defendants from northwestern Pennsylvania are among the 1,033 people arrested in the breach of the Capitol as of Friday, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia. The office said 570 of the defendants have pleaded guilty and 78 have been convicted at contested trials.

Update:More than 950 people have been charged in Jan. 6 Capitol riot, but investigation 'far from over'

More than 70 of the defendants charged in the Capitol riots are from Pennsylvania. Florida leads with at least 104 accused or convicted rioters. The next closest are Texas with 77 and Pennsylvania with 75, according to a USA Today count at the start of the year.

In Bauer's case, she had no criminal record before she was charged in the case of the Capitol riots in May 2021. She and her husband own and operate Bob's Trading Post, a restaurant north of Kane, a borough of about 3,500 people on the edge of the Allegheny National Forest.

Bauer traveled from Kane to attend "Stop the Steal" rally in Washington on Jan. 6 and "helped to organize transportation of others to the rally," according to assistant U.S. attorney's sentencing memo. She had attended a "Stop the Steal" rally in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, a day earlier.

Bauer was defiant following her arrest for her role on Jan. 6, though she softened her stance once she was convicted.

At her arraignment in federal court in Washington, D.C., in June 2021, Bauer told the judge: "You don't have jurisdiction over me, a free living soul, a woman. I stand above the law, because God gave man the law."

As she prepared to get sentenced, Bauer apologized, though she claimed she played more of a passive role at the Capitol.

"I am so sorry that I got caught up in the crowd at the Capitol," according to a statement Bauer gave to probation officials as part of her presentence investigation report. "I wish I could take back that day and all the pain that I have caused (my) family. I just want to move on from this incident and concentrate on the restaurant, which I don't think will make it if I go back to jail.

"I want to spend more time gardening and foraging in the National Forest and express no desire to ever step foot in Washington, D.C., again."

Bauer's lawyer cited her lack of a criminal record and her operation of the restaurant — "a community gathering place," according to the defense's sentencing memorandum — in requesting a sentence of probation.

While Bauer was inside the Capitol, her "conduct alone had the potential to incite violence," her lawyer, Komron Maknoon, of Pittsburgh, said in the defense's sentencing memo. But he also said that Bauer's "actions represented a significant departure from her usual behavior and had a detrimental impact on the overall situation."

"Although the case before this Court carries significant gravity," Maknoon also said in the memo, as he argued for probation, "it is important to acknowledge that Ms. Bauer does not pose a threat to society in terms of her actions or beliefs. She genuinely regrets her past actions, has developed a profound respect for the law and has been effectively deterred from engaging in future criminal conduct."

The prosecutor, Assistant U.S. Attorney James D. Peterson, argued that a sentence of at least 6½ years in federal prison was fitting for Bauer, given her actions at the Capitol and her attempt to overturn the results of the presidential election.

The 6½ years represented the mid-range penalty for Bauer's crimes under the federal sentencing guidelines, which recommended a sentence of five years and 10 months to seven years and three months.

Bauer's Facebook posts and other evidence "revealed that Bauer appeared to subscribe to a theory about the election being stolen, that she traveled to Washington, D.C., prepared to commit violence, and that in the days following Jan. 6, she had no remorse for her conduct that day," Peterson said in the memo.

"Although Bauer has now expressed remorse and contrition, her social media statements on and after Jan. 6 were those of a woman girding for another battle," Peterson said.

He said her statement to probation officials, in which she apologized, "is the opposite of remorse. Bauer expresses regret, not for her volitional conduct, but for the fact that she 'got caught up in the crowd' and she got caught. She did not get 'caught up in the crowd,' she was a very active member of the crowd."

Peterson said Bauer also gave false testimony at her nonjury trial, which she chose rather than a jury trial. Bauer's testimony, according to Peterson's memo, included that "I didn't even know what was going on" during the rioting at the Capitol; that she just walked into the Capitol or was "pushed" into the Capitol; that she did not remember threatening Pelosi and said she did not want to hurt her but just wanted her arrested; and that the reason Bauer yelled "bring them out," was to protest the federal government's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Bauer's felonious conduct on January 6, 2021," Peterson said in the sentencing memo, "was part of massive riot that almost succeeded in preventing the certification of the vote from being carried out, frustrating the peaceful transition of power and throwing the United States into a constitutional crisis."

Pauline Bauer's credit for a year of time served means she is likely to be out of prison in about 15 months. Her life will not be the same whenever she gets out.

Her lawyer, Maknoon, said in his sentencing memo that Bauer's restaurant, Bob's Trading Post, is all but certain to shut down if Bauer goes to prison.

"In the event of her incarceration, there is no one with the proper certification, capability or community relations to sustain Bob's Trading Post," according to the memo. "Regrettably, it has already been determined that the closure of the restaurant would be inevitable."

"Ms. Bauer's life has been characterized by a strong sense of service and obedience to the law," Maknoon said in the memo. "While she has always been a spirited individual, it is evident that at this stage of her life, she is in a healing process. The international spotlight showcasing her at her worst has deeply affected her."

In its sentencing memo, the government noted that Bauer said at trial that she doubted her restaurant would survive if she went to prison. Peterson, the assistant U.S. attorney, said in the memo that Bauer deserved prison in light of what she did and said inside the Capitol.

Peterson said in the memo: "It is hard to imagine a more stark threat of the most extreme physical violence than when Bauer, her face contorted in rage, screamed at the police officers in the Rotunda in the midst of a full-scale riot, 'Bring them out, You bring them out or we're coming in; 'They're criminals. They need to hang.'; 'Bring Nancy Pelosi out here now. We want to hang that (expletive). Bring her out.'"

Contact Ed Palattella at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @ETNpalattella.

Another Jan. 6 case: Update: