Judge allows Mercer County Capitol riot suspect to go maskless
A federal judge is allowing a Mercer County mother of eight, who is charged in connection with the January 6, 2021, U.S. Capitol riot, to no longer wear a protective mask when she leaves her Sandy Lake home.
U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth on Wednesday granted a request made by Rachel Powell to no longer be required to mask up as one of the conditions of her pretrial release.
In his one-page order, the judge noted that all but one of the fifty states have mask mandates due to COVID-19 concerns. Pennsylvania no longer requires face coverings.
Rachel Powell, one of seven Valley residents charged in connection with the insurrection, has filed a motion to modify the conditions under which she can remain free from jail while she waits to be tried on charges including obstruction, destruction of US property over $1,000, entering a restricted building or property with a dangerous weapon, entering a restricted building/property, and disorderly conduct.
The Sandy Lake woman argued that negative media attention and the court-ordered mask mandate forced her to resign from a job with a Franklin, Pennsylvania store.
Powell says her new office manager job has no mask requirement, and she frequently works alone.
Social media dubbed Powell the "bullhorn lady" and "pink hat lady" after government investigators identified her as the woman wearing a pink hat and carrying a megaphone during the capitol riot.
She was called before a Judge last April to apologize after a picture appeared on social media showing her wearing a mesh mask, in seeming defiance of the court mask order.