An Indiana woman became the first person sentenced in the January riot at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday after entering a guilty plea and telling the court she’s since educated herself with movies such as “Schindler’s List.”
Anna Morgan-Lloyd pleaded guilty in federal court to one charge of parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building in exchange for three years of probation, $500 in restitution and 40 hours of community service, court records show.
The court prohibited Morgan-Lloyd from buying a firearm under the terms of her probation.
U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth delivered the 49-year-old Bloomfield woman her sentence on Wednesday afternoon in a teleconference hearing.
“I have really struggled with what would be an appropriate sentence,” Lamberth said.
The judge of 33 years said he feels “troubled” by the accounts of some members of Congress who compare the insurrection to a “day of tourists walking through the Capitol.”
“This wasn’t a peaceful demonstration. It was not an accident that it turned violent,” he said. “I also think, some of these defendants in these cases are not gonna do what you did. Some of them are not gonna say they did anything wrong.”
Federal prosecutors in Morgan-Lloyd’s case supported the deal that avoided time in prison, records show, citing how the 49-year-old has no criminal history and showed remorse for her actions.
Though the Bloomfield woman did not participate in violence during her estimated 10 minutes inside the Capitol, prosecutors said in court records, her “storming” of the building was a “serious violation of the law.”
“To be clear, what the Defendant initially described as the “most exciting day of (her) life” was, in fact, a tragic day for our nation — a day of riotous violence, collective destruction, and criminal conduct by a frenzied and lawless mob,” Acting U.S. Attorney Channing Phillips wrote.
In her plea, Morgan-Lloyd wrote she’s “ashamed” of her participation in the rally-turned-riot, adding that she’s learned from her actions using movies and books recommended by her attorney — attaching plot summaries of “Schindler’s List” and “Just Mercy” as evidence.
“I’ve learned that even though we live in a wonderful country things still need to improve,” Morgan-Lloyd wrote. “People of all colors should feel as safe as I do to walk down the street.”
Her attorney, H. Heather Shaner, in court called Morgan-Lloyd the “least culpable” among the thousands of rioters.
“She was very willing to learn about American history,” Shaner said. “When I offered her a book list, and the movie list, she got a library card because she lives in a remote part of Indiana.”
Morgan-Lloyd traveled to D.C. that day with her friend Dona Sue Bissey, 52, also from Bloomfield. The two women called the riot “the best day” of their lives in Facebook comments and photos, often tagging each other.
Court records show a Greene County Sheriff’s Office employee recognized Morgan-Lloyd from her posts weeks later when she applied for a gun permit, and told the FBI. Agents arrested the two women in February.
Morgan-Lloyd and Bissey are among six Hoosiers who have been criminally charged with participating in the insurrection. Federal prosecutors have charged more than 400 people so far in the aftermath of the Jan. 6 riot. Officials have said the incident’s investigation and prosecution will likely be “one of the largest in American history,” both in terms of evidence and number of defendants.
In a tearful apology in court on Wednesday, Morgan-Lloyd said she intended to show peaceful support for former President Donald Trump that day.
“I’m ashamed that it became a savage display of violence that day,” she said. “I would’ve never been there if I had a clue it was going to turn out that way, because it was never my intent to be a part of anything that is so disgraceful to the American people.”
Bissey’s case is pending in court.
Contact Sarah Nelson at [email protected] or 317-503-7514.