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Boise woman facing U.S. Capitol riot charges ordered to stay away from Idaho Statehouse

Boise woman facing U.S. Capitol riot charges ordered to stay away from Idaho Statehouse

From the August crime report: Kidnapping, internet crimes, a sleeping juror and more series
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Pamela Hemphill

Charging document photos show Boise resident Pamela Hemphill, circled, in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda during the Jan. 6 riot. She is facing federal charges.

BOISE — The latest Idahoan charged in connection with the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot made her first appearance in a Washington, D.C., federal court Thursday.

Pamela Hemphill, a Boise resident, appeared via video for a brief hearing before Magistrate Judge Robin Meriweather. During the hearing, Hemphill was appointed a public defender and was again granted pretrial release — a federal judge in Idaho did the same earlier this week after she was arrested.

Meriweather also outlined the conditions of Hemphill’s pretrial release, which include her being barred from the Idaho Statehouse.

Hemphill was arrested by federal authorities on Tuesday, according to a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia. She appeared in Boise’s federal court later that day. Thursday’s hearing was in D.C. federal court because the charges were filed there.

Court records show that Hemphill faces four misdemeanor charges: violent entry or disorderly conduct; entering a restricted building or grounds; disorderly conduct in a restricted building; and parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building.

A separate document unsealed Wednesday shed light on the government’s case against Hemphill. The statement of fact mentioned several Facebook posts Hemphill made before, during and after the Capitol riot.

On Dec. 28, 2020, Hemphill reportedly posted on Facebook encouraging people to attend then-President Donald Trump’s rally in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6.

“It’s not going to be a FUN Trump Rally that is planned for January 6th, its (sic) a WAR!” the post read.

FBI agents found another post on Hemphill’s Facebook page that showed her holding a rifle, with the post reading, “On my way to Washington DC (sic) January 6th!”

After she arrived in D.C., Hemphill posted a video on her YouTube channel showing a conversation involving multiple people on Jan. 5, including a co-host of the far-right website InfoWars. In the video, Hemphill is heard saying, “Let’s do this; let’s go to the Capitol. We did it in Boise,” according to court documents.

Her statement is in reference to an incident in August 2020, when angry spectators pushed their way into the Idaho House gallery during a special legislative session regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. A glass door was smashed in the process, and state legislators later allowed spectators to stay. Court records say that Hemphill was a part of that incident at the Statehouse.

FBI agents say that Hemphill is heard on video saying: “Oh yeah. We broke the glass door. Watch the video. I’m with People’s Rights. Ammon Bundy.” Hemphill has been seen at multiple events and protests held by People’s Rights, a group Bundy started. She frequently records and posts videos on a new YouTube channel under her name.

Hemphill reportedly ended the video by saying, “Don’t worry, Trump’s coming in office.”

The Capitol riot took place two weeks before President Joe Biden’s inauguration. Congress was meeting that day to certify Biden’s victory. The building was stormed by a mob of supporters of Trump, who repeated claims of election fraud that day, and continues to do so. The riot left multiple people dead, including a Capitol Police officer. Other officers have died by suicide in the months since.

During the riot, Hemphill streamed much of what was going on around her and posted videos to YouTube. Though much of that footage was later taken down, federal investigators said they watched and noted the footage.

Surveillance footage from inside the Capitol that’s part of the court document reportedly shows Hemphill making her way inside and walking through the Capitol Rotunda wearing a blue baseball cap and a pink scarf. Later footage shows her being taken out of the building by a Capitol Police officer.

Additional footage posted from Hemphill’s account depicted a scene outside of the Capitol, with protesters trying to get inside. This is the same footage she later shared with WUSA, a CBS-affiliated TV station in Washington, D.C. Hemphill told the TV station that she was pushed inside the Capitol before a police officer helped her.

The WUSA report also notes that people had warned Hemphill about posting videos of the Capitol riot online, saying she could put herself at risk of being arrested.

Hemphill is the fifth Idaho resident and fourth from the Treasure Valley to be arrested in connection with Jan. 6. Of the five charged from Idaho, one has pleaded guilty — Boise-area resident Josiah Colt.

Hemphill’s next scheduled appearance in D.C. federal court is a preliminary hearing on Oct. 7.

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