U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden criticized the Justice Department for what he called a “disproportionate” recommendation of 75 days in jail.
WASHINGTON — A Texas florist who bragged about storming the Capitol on Jan. 6 and promised to join in “the next one” will pay a large fine and serve a short probationary sentence — avoiding the jail time prosecutors argued she deserved.
Jenny Cudd, of Midland, Texas, appeared before U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden for sentencing Wednesday on one Class “A” misdemeanor count of entering and remaining in a restricted building. After hearing arguments from the prosecution and Cudd’s attorney, McFadden sentenced her to pay a $5,000 fine and serve two months of probation. She was also required to pay $500 in restitution, which her attorney said she had already done.
Prosecutors had asked McFadden to sentence Cudd to 75 days in jail, a year of supervised release and 60 hours of community service. Assistant U.S. attorney Laura Hill said Cudd prepared for violence on Jan. 6 by wearing a bulletproof sweatshirt, engaged in a self-described push against law enforcement and celebrated property destruction after leaving the Capitol. She also pointed to her apparent lack of remorse for her role in the riot, as evidenced by repeated statements since Jan. 6.
In Facebook posts on January 6, Cudd said she joined other rioters who “pushed, pushed and pushed” their way into the Capitol after she heard former Vice President Mike Pence was not going to overturn the 2020 Presidential Election. In an interview with WUSA9’s sister station NewsWest 9 two days after the riot, Cudd again said that “we the patriots did storm the U.S. Capitol” and that, “Yes, I would absolutely do it again.”
“Hell yes I am proud of my actions,” Cudd said in another video, posted to Facebook.
In yet another video, Cudd said, “I’m proud of everything that I was a part of today. And I’ll be proud of everything that I’m a part of at the next one.”
In a motion filed Tuesday, prosecutors also argued Cudd may have “repudiated” her plea agreement during a presentencing interview when she told a probation officer she did not realize she was breaking the law when she entered the Capitol. They said that flies in the face Cudd’s guilty plea to knowingly entering a restricted area without authority to do so on Jan. 6.
Cudd’s attorney, Marina Medvin, accused the DOJ of “gamesmanship” and suggested prosecutors were recommending jail time not because of her individual actions, but because of her political views. She dismissed Cudd’s social media statements as “drunken tirades” and repeatedly drew comparisons to how federal prosecutors have charged, or not charged, protestors in Portland and during the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. McFadden was the right audience for those arguments, having repeatedly made the same comparisons himself during other hearings in Capitol riot cases.
Before delivering his sentence, McFadden said he didn’t believe in “aggregate justice” and that he found the DOJ’s sentencing recommendation for Cudd “disproportionate” from others with similar conduct.
“It does feel like the government had had two different standards here, and I can’t abide by that,” he said.
Cudd herself delivered a short statement promising to continue to fight for “free, fair and transparent elections” and saying she’d suffered financial and social consequences from her arrest, including threats against her and her business. She also expressed regret — that the challenge to certification of electoral votes on Jan. 6 was disrupted.
“I believe we would have a very different country if that debate process had not been interrupted that day,” Cudd said.
Cudd’s unapologetic public statements – and a February request to go on a vacation in Mexico, which U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden granted – made her one of the more recognizable early defendants in the Capitol riot investigation despite a lack of any allegations she engaged in violence. In March, Medvin argued the publicity around Cudd and other Capitol riot defendants, along with, she claimed, D.C.’s culture of “canceling” conservatives, warranted a change of venue. McFadden denied that motion.
In July, Cudd’s co-defendant, Eliel Rosa – a Texas civics teacher who traveled with her to D.C. on January 6 – pleaded guilty to a Class “B” misdemeanor counting of parading, demonstrating or picketing. He was sentenced on Tuesday to 12 months of probation, and, as an asylee in the U.S., could face additional hurdles as a result of his conviction if he chooses to pursue citizenship.
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