Wednesday, June 23, 2021

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Arbuckle woman faces criminal charges in U.S. Capitol riot

An Arbuckle woman faces federal charges after a criminal complaint filed Friday alleges she went into the U.S. Capitol during the riot on Jan. 6. 

Valerie Ehrke, 53, was named as the Defendant in the complaint filed by an FBI special agent. 

The complaint alleges that Ehrke violated 18 USC 1752(a)(1) Knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority; 18 USC 1752(a)(2) Knowingly, with intent to impede government business or official functions, engaging in disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds; 40 USC 5104(e)(2)(D) Engaging in disorderly or disruptive conduct on Capitol buildings or grounds; and 40 USC 5104(e)(2)(G) Parading, demonstrating, or picketing in the Capitol buildings.

According to court documents the FBI received a tip from an anonymous caller that had seen an individual, Ehrke, posted a video to Facebook on the inside the Capitol building. 

Upon investigation, the FBI found two videos posted to Ehrke’s personal Facebook page with the captions, “We made it inside, right before they shoved us all out. I took off when I felt pepper spray in my throat! Lol.” and “B squad getting’ it on the way to the breached Capitol building.”

Ehrke was interviewed by FBI agents last week where she confirmed that she had traveled to Washington, D.C. on Jan. 5, where she and a friend attended a rally for President Trump. Having returned to her hotel room, she saw a news story about people at the Capitol building, and decided she wanted to be a part of the crowd, walking to the Capitol. 

Ehrke told FBI agents that she arrived at the Capitol where she joined a group entering through a set of double doors and proceeded about 15-feet into the building. The crowd then started to push backward going out the doors through which they entered and an unknown man grabbed and pushed her outside. 

As of Monday, Jan. 18, the case summary does not show Ehrke in Federal custody. If convicted, Ehrke could receive fines, face two to 10 years of imprisonment, or both.♣

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