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‘Nobody ever asked me if I had any remorse.’ Local woman released from prison for alleged role in U.S. Capitol riot

BUTLER, Pa. — A second federal judge on Thursday denied a government motion to keep 40-year-old Rachel Powell behind bars, and she was released just after noon on Friday.

Powell, a mother of eight from Mercer County, is accused of using a large pipe to break a window at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 and giving directions to fellow insurrectionists about how to take over the building.

The government believes Powell may be a flight risk, but her attorney said she doesn’t have any prior criminal record. Her attorney also pointed out she did not physically harm anyone during the riot.

Authorities searched Powell’s home and found several smashed cellphones, “go bags” with ammunition, rope, duct tape, throwing stars, knives, lighters, a tarp, zip ties and loaded magazines for an AK-47 rifle.

Powell, who has become known as “the pink hat lady” for what she was wearing during the riot, faces a long list of charges, including violent entry or disorderly conduct and entering a restricted building.

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Once she is released from the Butler County Prison, Powell has been ordered to home detention with an ankle monitoring bracelet. She will not be allowed to leave western Pennsylvania.

Powell’s defense attorney, Michael Engle, released the following statement to Channel 11 News Friday morning:

“Rachel is grateful for the opportunity the Court has afforded her to return to her family pending the outcome of this case. We look forward to reviewing the evidence that will eventually be provided by the government and to developing the best path forward for Rachel in connection with this serious matter.”