A Texas woman who bragged in a Facebook live stream about storming the U.S. Capitol can vacation in Mexico later this month, a judge said Friday, as the defendant’s case expanded significantly with new federal charges.
Jenny Cudd’s attorney had asked the judge to let her travel this month to Riviera Maya on a four-day trip with employees of her flower shop – “a work-related bonding retreat for employees and their spouses,” attorney Farheena Siddiqui wrote in a motion, saying Cudd attended her scheduled court appearance and has stayed “in constant contact with her attorney.”
Noting that neither Cudd’s pretrial services officer nor the government opposed Cudd’s request for “pre-paid, work-related travel” Feb. 18 through Feb. 21, U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden wrote that the defendant has no criminal history and said there is “no evidence before the Court suggesting the Defendant is a flight risk or poses a danger to others.”
A federal grand jury this week charged Cudd, a 36-year-old florist in Midland, Texas, with obstruction of an official proceeding, entering and remaining in a restricted building, and parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building. She also was indicted on two counts related to disorderly or disruptive conduct in the building.
The indictment highlights the evolving federal investigation of the Jan. 6 Capitol assault, showing authorities’ willingness to enhance the prosecutions of alleged rioters by tacking on additional counts as they gather evidence.
Cudd initially was charged with two misdemeanor counts of entering and remaining on restricted grounds and disorderly conduct or violent entry. She was released on her own recognizance.
The new charges are more serious. The most significant, obstruction of an official proceeding, is a felony that falls under a section of federal law related to tampering with a witness, victim or informant. It carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and potential fines.
An attorney for Cudd didn’t respond to a request for comment Friday morning.
A onetime mayoral candidate and vociferous anti-masker, Cudd gained notoriety for a Facebook live stream in which she boasted about her involvement in the attack on the Capitol.
Draped in the Trump flag she’d worn inside the Rotunda and Statuary Hall, she announced, “We did break down . . . Nancy Pelosi’s office door.” Cudd said she “charged the Capitol today with patriots,” adding, “Hell yes, I am proud of my actions.”
Two days later, she gave an interview to local TV station NewsWest9. In the 14-minute video, she said people who had turned her in to the FBI and left negative reviews of her business were trying to “cancel me because I stood up for what it is that I believe in.” The backlash, she added, “is 100 percent cancel culture.”
Cudd insisted that she did not personally destroy anything or go into any offices. Instead, she said, she used the term “we” to refer to “we the patriots.” She said she had walked through an open door after the barricades were broken down. And although the storming of the Capitol left a police officer and four others dead, she continued to defend it.
“I’ve told everybody this: I would do it again in a heartbeat because I did not break any laws,” Cudd said.
She was arrested the next week. In a Jan. 12 federal complaint, the FBI cited Cudd’s statements on social media and in the TV interview.
Federal authorities have debated how aggressive they should be in prosecuting people who took part in the Capitol riots, weighing the value of going after those who entered the building but did not engage in violent or destructive behavior. Authorities have identified hundreds of suspects and arrested more than 150 so far.