DOJ charges ‘Pink Beret’ rioter on January 6

Nabil Anas
Nabil Anas

Global Courant 2023-05-09 01:18:46

WASHINGTON — A woman who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 wearing a pink beret and was recently identified by an ex-romantic partner at the FBI was charged with four federal counts on Monday.

As NBC News first reported, Jennifer Inzunza Vargas Geller of California was identified by an ex and reported to the FBI after she was seen in a viral tweet from the office last month. She now faces four violations: entering or staying in a restricted building or area; disorderly and disruptive behavior in a confined building; disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds or buildings; and illegally parade, demonstrate, or protest in a Capitol Building. She was not in custody on Monday, a law enforcement source said, but a warrant has now been issued for her arrest.

For more than two years, online sleuths identifying hundreds of participants in connection with the January 6 attack were unable to determine the identity of Vargas Geller, and the woman they had dubbed #PinkBeret had been the subject of online conspiracy theories . A lawyer for another January 6 defendant suggested she was working on behalf of the government.

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But last weekend, a dress designer Vargas Geller used to be standing in line at the checkout counter of a Joann Fabric and Crafts store when his mate gave him a funny tweet from the Washington Field Office of the FBI on his phone.

“Pink Beret”, now identified by the FBI as Jennifer Inzunza Vargas Geller, outside the Capitol on January 6, 2021.USDCDC

“He’s always on Twitter and he’s like, ‘Yo, look at this girl,'” the designer told NBC News. “I stopped dead in my tracks,” he said. ‘”

While the most recent tweets from the FBI’s Washington Field Office account had a few thousand views, the tweet featuring Vargas Geller made millions. Twitter users dubbed her ‘Insurrection’ Eve Brown‘, ‘fascist Matilda‘, and compared her to April Ludgate, the character played by Aubrey Plaza in NBC’s “Parks and Recreation.” Several users joked that she looked like she was straight out of the Wes Anderson movie, and one user tweeted “Emily in Jail,” referring to the “Emily in Paris” show.

The charges against Vargas Geller came 11 days after the viral tweet, which is an extremely rapid turnaround compared to other Jan. 6 cases. Online sleuths have identified hundreds of additional participants in the Capitol riots who have not yet been charged, some of whom were first identified more than two years ago in 2021.

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Pink beret outside the Capitol on January 6, 2021.USDCDC

Vargas Geller was from Sacramento, the clothing designer told NBC News, but came to meet him in Los Angeles in early 2019 when they were in their early 20s. “We weren’t trying to get married or anything,” he said. “We were crocheting for a few months.”

But there was a red flag that led to a rift: Vargas Geller, he said, wrote on Discord that she was reading Hitler’s 1925 manifesto.

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“I was immediately turned off, like, ‘Yo, I don’t think this is going to work,'” he said. “You read ‘Mein Kampf’, you think immigrants don’t deserve X, Y, Z.” (A social media account linked to Vargas Geller viewed by NBC News also referenced Hitler.)

NBC News could not reach Vargas Geller for comment.

Kira West, the attorney for Jan. 6 defendant Darrell Neely, who suggested that “Pink Beret” was working as a government agent, told NBC News after Vargas Geller was identified that the government should have tried to identify her sooner.

“Our question is, why didn’t they look sooner when we brought it to their attention a long time ago? Especially with Mr. Neely’s freedom at stake,” West said.

Pink beret outside the Capitol on January 6, 2021.USDCDC

Vargas Geller’s ex knew she had traveled to DC and asked her if she was on the “no fly” list in a message he wrote to her a few days after the attack.

“No, because I didn’t go to the (Capitol),” she wrote, despite extensive video evidence later viewed by NBC News and cited in Monday’s affidavit that the FBI says shows her entering the building.

“But you still crossed state lines to riot,” he replied.

“I was there to support the president. Not to participate in that riot. I support the police,” Vargas Geller responded on Jan. 10, 2021, in a conservation shared with NBC News.

The FBI says this photo shows Vargas Geller, in her pink beret, at the Capitol on January 6, 2021.USDCDC

Federal prosecutors have now charged more than 1,000 people in connection with the attack on the Capitol, and hundreds of other identified participants have not yet been arrested.

Most of the defendants facing charges similar to Vargas Geller have been given probation or short prison terms. The longest sentence to date for a Jan. 6 sentence — more than 14 years in federal prison — went to a violent rioter with an extensive criminal record.

DOJ charges ‘Pink Beret’ rioter on January 6

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