Capitol Stormer Emily Hernandez Hit With 5 Charges in First Court Appearance

click to enlarge Emily Hernandez was recorded with a piece of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's stolen nameplate. - U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE EXHIBIT
Emily Hernandez was recorded with a piece of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's stolen nameplate.

A Franklin County woman who was recorded gleefully carrying House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's stolen, broken nameplate through the U.S. Capitol during the January riots made her first court appearance today via Zoom to face five federal charges.

Emily Hernandez, 21, of Sullivan was part of the mob of extremists that stormed the Capitol, according to court documents. Multiple acquaintances, including a former high school classmate, identified her from video of the scene and informed the FBI.

In this afternoon's Zoom call, Hernandez appeared with her attorney Ethan Corlija in front of U.S. Magistrate Judge Patricia Cohen in Missouri's Eastern District.

During the brief proceeding, she said little more than "Yes, your honor," in response to Cohen's questions. After being told to speak up, Hernandez said, "I'm sorry. I'm nervous."
click to enlarge Emily Hernandez. - U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE EXHIBIT
Emily Hernandez.

Cohen replied, "I know you are."

But Hernandez appeared anything but nervous in videos from the Capitol. She and fellow rioters stormed the building after a speech from Donald Trump in which he repeated the lie that the election was stolen. In the chaos that ensued, five people died, including a Capitol Police officer who authorities say was bashed with a fire extinguisher.

Lawmakers who were meeting to certify the results of the presidential election were forced into hiding while the marauders took over the building and searched for Vice President Mike Pence and members of Congress. In videos, people in the mob can be heard calling for Pelosi. After reaching her office and finding no one inside, the pro-Trump rioters ripped her wooden nameplate off the wall and smashed it.

Hernandez snagged the broken sign and paraded it through the halls, holding it over head as cameras rolled.

Hernandez, who lives with her parents in Sullivan, was allowed to remain free on a promise to follow the conditions of her bond. Those conditions include prohibitions against possessing a weapon, drinking or traveling outside of the Eastern District of Missouri, a swath of the state that stretches from Hannibal to Cape Girardeau.

Hernandez's next court appearance will be in Washington, D.C., Cohen said. The misdemeanor charges carry a maximum prison sentence of a year.

More than 120 people, including white supremacists and members of established extremist groups, have been charged so far and more are expected as the FBI continues to investigate and identify people from the massive cache of video recorded during the insurrection.

We welcome tips and feedback. Email the author at [email protected] or follow on Twitter at @DoyleMurphy.
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