Feds: Jan. 6 suspect from Pa. who called for members of Congress to be hanged shouldn't be allowed to present alibi

Torsten Ove
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (TNS)

PITTSBURGH — The federal government is demanding that accused Capitol rioter Pauline Bauer, who has repeatedly invoked the Bible in arguing that she is a sovereign citizen ungoverned by U.S. law, not be allowed to present an alibi defense or make any argument outside the facts of her case when she goes to trial this summer.

Bauer, 54, a pizza shop owner from Kane, Pennsylvania, is seen on video surveillance screaming for police to bring out House Speaker Nancy Pelosi so the mob can "hang that [expletive] [expletive]," according to the FBI.

She is also heard demanding that police bring other members of Congress out to be hanged and is seen shoving a police officer and screaming profanities, according to government evidence.

She was charged along with co-defendant William Blauser Jr., of Ludlow, a 75-year-old Vietnam veteran who was sentenced in February to pay a fine for his role in the riot.

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Bauer has claimed in contentious court proceedings that she is not a person but "a creation of God" over which U.S. laws have no jurisdiction. It's a version of the "sovereign nation" defense that federal defendants have long made in U.S. courts in an attempt to avoid prosecution.

She has also argued that the government is engaging in "vindictive" and "selective" prosecution and cited nine other defendants who received plea offers despite, in her view, committing more egregious crimes.

The U.S. attorney's office in the District of Columbia on Friday asked the judge in Bauer's case, Trevor McFadden, to prohibit her from presenting any such argument at trial that "encourages jury nullification."

Jury nullification occurs when the jury returns a not guilty verdict despite believing the defendant is guilty, basing its decision on a belief that the law under which the charge was brought is not valid.

The trial is set for July, and prosecutors clearly anticipate that Bauer may attempt to introduce evidence outside the scope of the facts of her case.

Pauline Bauer, shown on the left wearing a dark-colored jacket in the still image from an officer's body-worn camera video, was identified by the FBI. (U.S. Attorney's Office/TNS)

As an example, they said she may try to argue that other rioters bear greater responsibility for the insurrection or should be on trial instead of her.

Even if that were true, the government said, those arguments are not relevant to whether she's guilty of breaching the Capitol, shoving police or threatening to hang people.

"The introduction of that argument, or even the implication of it, can thus only be intended to suggest nullification to the jury," said prosecutors James Peterson and Joseph McFarlane.

The prosecutors also asked the judge to force Bauer to indicate whether she intends to present an alibi defense, in which she would presumably argue she wasn't at the Capitol despite video showing her there.

Under the law, a defendant has 14 days in which to serve written notice indicating where she was at the time of the offense and any witnesses who can testify to her story.

The government asked Bauer for discovery evidence on March 24, but she didn't respond.

On Friday, prosecutors asked the judge to order her or her lawyer to give notice of an alibi. If she doesn't, they said, the judge should order that she not be allowed to argue that she wasn't at the Capitol.

The prosecution is also asking the judge to prevent Bauer from mentioning anything about other defendants or a potential sentence if she's convicted. One of the counts, obstruction of an official proceeding, is a federal felony that carries a possible term of 20 years.

Finally, the prosecutors are asking the judge to order Bauer to tell the government by May 6 if she intends to argue an insanity or mental illness defense. If she doesn't, they want the judge to prevent her from raising that defense later.

Bauer and Blauser, a combat veteran awarded the Purple Heart, drove together to Washington to attend the Jan. 6 Trump rally. After the now-former president’s speech in which he falsely declared that the election was stolen and told the crowd to "fight like hell," the pair walked to the Capitol, then pushed through the mob and past police to enter the building, according to Blauser's guilty plea.

Inside, Blauser held a sign that read, "Walk as Free People," and stood near Bauer as she screamed: "Bring them out, they're criminals! ... They need to hang!"

Video images captured both inside the Capitol. At 3:02 p.m., the pair got into a skirmish with police as officers tried to push them out of the Capitol Rotunda. They both left at 3:21.