A Connecticut woman charged with the US Capitol riot did not even know she was in the iconic building at the time, her lawyer claims.
Victoria Bergeson, 40, of Groton, is charged with curfew and illegal entry charges in the violent unrest in Washington, DC on Wednesday. There she was taken into custody along with her boyfriend when rioters tried to stop the confirmation of Joe Biden’s presidential election victory. The Connecticut Post reported.
“People assume that she is part of this crazy mob,” Bergeson’s lawyer Sam Bogash told the outlet on Saturday. “She’s never been anywhere near the building.”
Bergeson was arrested with her boyfriend, 40-year-old Maurico Mendez, around 7.15 p.m. – or more than an hour after a 6 p.m. curfew imposed by DC Mayor Muriel Bowser shows an arrest log.
The officers warned Bergeson and five other women three times to “disperse and go inside” in front of the bust. Mendez, meanwhile, was taken into custody at the same time and place along with eight other men, the report said.
“I think this has to be brought to justice,” said Bogash. “In order for her to be convicted, the government has to prove that she was knowingly on the Capitol grounds when it shouldn’t have been. I don’t think they can prove that they knew they were on the Capitol grounds. Terrain was. “
Prior to her arrest, Bogash said Bergeson was with 18 others at the Peace Memorial, a 44-foot marble and granite statue on the Capitol floor that was completed in 1878 and, according to their website, commemorates the Navy’s death during the Civil War.
“Cars go around it,” said Bogash. “I don’t think half the people in DC know this is the Capitol grounds. They thought they were standing on a roundabout 100 feet from the lawn that leads to the Capitol, but it was the Capitol grounds.”
By early Monday, at least 90 people had been arrested on charges ranging from curfew violations to assaults on police officers during the siege of the Capitol on Wednesday.
Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick died of injuries sustained while fighting rioters, while four more died during the dramatic siege, some of which were broadcast live or shared on social media.
Bergeson faces up to 180 days in prison if convicted of illegal entry, online records show. According to Bogash, Wednesday was her first arrest.
Bergeson was also banned from entering the country’s capital ahead of her next June 10 court hearing, which Bogash described as “a little extreme,” the Connecticut Post reported.
“Bergeson and Mendez, who were indicted Thursday, both pleaded not guilty, the Hartford Courant reported.
The couple had nothing to say when reporters knocked on their door Friday after returning to Connecticut, WTNH reported.
With postal wires