Washington DC: For her involvement in the protest at the US Capitol on January 6, Jenny Cudd was charged under 18 U.S.C. § 1512(c) Obstruction of an Official Proceeding; 18 U.S.C. § 1752(a)(1) Entering and Remaining in a Restricted Building; 18 U.S.C. § 1752(a)(2) Disorderly and Disruptive Conduct in a Restricted Building; 40 U.S.C. § 5104(e)(2)(D) Disorderly Conduct in a Capitol Building; and 40 U.S.C. § 5104(e)(2)(G) Parading, Demonstrating, or Picketing in a Capitol Building.
All five federal charges were prosecuted in the US District Court for the District of Columbia.
Ms. Cudd pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of Entering and Remaining in a Restricted Building – a trespass offense. All other charges were dismissed.
Judge McFadden sentenced Jenny Cudd to 2 months of probation, a fine of $5,000, and restitution in the amount of $500 (standard for all J6 participants, irrespective of their personal involvement in property destruction).
About Jenny Cudd, The Free-Spirited Flower Shop Owner
Jenny Cudd is a 37-year-old flower shop owner from Midland, Texas. She is a free-spirited, independent woman who thoroughly enjoys life and takes pride in her American heritage. She is a cornerstone of her community. Ms. Cudd is also a hardworking business owner who currently employs seven people and treats her employees like family members.
Ms. Cudd is politically active and vocal about her political views. She takes pride in protesting and having her voice heard. Ms. Cudd is an advocate for classic American freedom. In 2019, she ran for Mayor of Midland and received 15.6 percent of the vote. Jenny Cudd may have lost the election but won the respect of her political opponent, the current Mayor of Midland, Texas, who wrote the following character reference for her:
In my experience with Ms. Cudd she is a woman who cares deeply about the United States of America, the freedoms of this great country… Her passion has always been to serve and do what is right as displayed in actions like running for the office of mayor in Midland, TX, doing what she can to help and serve veterans, running a thriving business in Midland, TX, and always being at the ready to serve her fellow citizens in her city, state, and country.
Defense Exhibit 1, Letter of Patrick Payton.
Ms. Cudd is deeply connected to her community. Aside from hosting community Christmas gatherings, Jenny Cudd spends a significant portion of her time volunteering and donating to community causes. Some of Ms. Cudd’s volunteer projects included work with Lonestar Animal Sanctuary, Show of Support/Hunt for Heroes, Hospice of Midland, Serenity Group Al-Anon, Mid-Winter AA Conference, Woman to Woman Conference, Midland Chamber of Commerce, and Reflections Ministries. Jenny Cudd has donated to: Hunt for Heroes, Centers for Women & Children, Junior League, Boy Scouts of America, National MS Society, Lonestar Animal Shelter, Operation Underground Railroad, Reflections Ministries, St. Ann’s Catholic Church, St. Stephen’s Catholic Church, Midland Odessa Symphony & Choral, Midland Community Theater, Habitat for Humanity, Helping Hands, Boys & Girls Club, 100 Women Who Rock, Safe Place Battered Women’s Shelter, West Texas Food Bank, Museum of the Southwest, and Midland Need to Read—Adult Literacy. One of Ms. Cudd’s favorite events was Bustin’ for Badges, an annual sporting clays tournament benefiting Midland law enforcement. One year her flower shop even purchased an entire sponsor’s table for the law enforcement benefit.
Jenny Cudd has held community leadership positions in the past, having been elected president of both the Business Networking International (Midland Chapter) and the Permian Basin Bridal Association, both of which are business networking organizations. One of the professionals that Ms. Cudd met at the business association about six years ago, described Ms. Cudd as a community asset, as someone who “spread[s] her contagious happiness and positive attitude”:
She never misses an opportunity to support the local community. Such as the local police and fire departments with pizza or gift baskets. One day, she called me and asked if I wanted to take pizza with her around to the police stations. Out of the goodness of her heart, she took an entire day running to all of the police stations, dropping off food, to show her appreciation of all the good they do for the community. She has also been there for me through struggles building my own business, with counseling and friendship…
Defense Exhibit 2, Letter of Kate Conner.
And, Jenny works with the children in her community, teaching botany classes to homeschooled children, connecting to them personally after having been homeschooled herself.
A native to West Texas, she was born and raised in Lubbock. Her mother homeschooled Jenny and one of her brothers. As a young teen, Ms. Cudd began her community outreach by writing a series of children’s books that could be colored while they were read. 16-year-old Jenny Cudd was even crowned Miss Teen Lubbock.
As a young woman, Ms. Cudd spent two years living and working abroad in Italy. She eventually moved back to Texas and settled down in Midland in 2008, graduating from college in her new hometown. Ms. Cudd earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology with a minor in Music from the University of Texas at the Permian Basin in Odessa, Texas. She also has an Associate of Applied Science degree in Drug and Alcohol Abuse Counseling from Midland College. Ms. Cudd was in the middle of her graduate degree when she decided to pursue entrepreneurship instead.
Retired Texas State Representative Carl H. Isett (Dist. 84 – Lubbock), who has known Jenny from her childhood, describes her as “a woman of the highest character.” See Defense Exhibit 3, Letter of Carl H. Isett. “She is a woman of integrity in every respect and I trust her with everything I hold dear in life.” Id.
Ms. Cudd’s father tragically passed away about 10 tears ago, when Ms. Cudd was 27 years old. Her father, a veteran, was a man who guided her and who taught her how to conduct herself as a caring member of her community and as an American patriot.
After her father’s death, Ms. Cudd dedicated herself to upholding her father’s legacy. Her uncle glowed as he described how proud he has been of his niece’s dedication:
I was especially proud of Jenny when she traveled to Washington DC and represented her father at the Medal of Honor Ceremony for a member of her father’s unit killed in battle. She stood at the Ceremony representing her deceased father as he was unable to be there. In fact, B Company, 3rd Battalion, 506 Infantry, 101st Airborne Division made her an honorary member of their unit.
Defense Exhibit 4, Letter of Joe Haning.
Ms. Cudd took it upon herself to attend Vietnam veterans events as a way to keep the memory of her father alive.
I will always remember sitting in the hotel lobby greeting my war buddies as they arrived from all over the USA, when suddenly a most gracious lady appeared and asked were we the bravo company guys. I said, “yes, and who might you be”? She introduced herself as Jenny cudd from Midland, Texas. Somehow, she had gotten the word and information about this reunion / medal of honor ceremony and decided to attend on behalf of her father, who had recently died… Since then, Jenny has attended several of our reunions.
Defense Exhibit 5, Letter of Ben Currin.
Jenny was with her father’s veteran friends when she spread his ashes at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
“In all my born days, I have never seen anything as touching and heartwarming, as Jenny, when she knelt down and spread her dad’s ashes at the base of the Vietnam wall.” See Defense Exhibit 5, Letter of Ben Currin.
In her everyday life, Ms. Cudd has a vivacious, ebullient personality and a fantastic sense of humor. She is always alert, smiling, and active. Her approach to life is optimistic and free-spirited. One of her friends says that she is “privileged and blessed to have Jenny in my life,” and that “Jenny brings energy and enthusiasm to every project that captures her heart.” See Defense Exhibit 6, Letter of Carla Barrow.
Ms. Cudd is now engaged and is looking forward to starting a new chapter in her life.
January 6 Capitol Protest
Jenny Cudd arrived in Washington DC on January 5, 2021, for the election fraud protest scheduled for January 6, and to support her candidate, Donald J. Trump. She made the decision to go to DC when President Trump first announced on Twitter a protest for his supporters scheduled for January 6th in DC. Jenny Cudd, who is an extrovert that is highly vocal about her political views, thoroughly enjoys participating in protests and socializing with individuals she meets at protests; she was looking forward to attending.
On January 5, Ms. Cudd went to Freedom Plaza, where she listened to speakers and met influential conservatives and Trump supporters. She recorded a Facebook Live video in her hotel room later that evening, excitedly saying that she listened to Michael Flynn, Roger Stone, David Harris, Alex Jones, and many others. “It’s very, very exciting, y’all,” she exclaimed. The video was intended for her Facebook followers. Ms. Cudd, in recent years, had been very vocal on social media about her political beliefs. She also used social media to engage with her friends and would record and share videos of herself talking about her day and her thoughts about politics.
“We don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow,” Jenny Cudd went on, “it will be interesting to see what happens.” She announced plans to go to the Ellipse the next day, on January 6, “to support our president, and really to support the country.” The protest was important to Jenny. “This isn’t about President Trump — this is about whether or not we are going to have free and fair elections moving forward in our county. And, whether we are going to stop the steal. It will be interesting to see who in Congress stands up and objects…” Ms. Cudd was discussing the procedure she expected to take place in Congress. “I personally don’t think that we’re going to have an answer tomorrow… unless Trump pulls out a ‘Trump card’ in which case we will have an answer tomorrow.”
About nine and a half minutes into this Facebook Live video, Ms. Cudd began to casually discuss what she heard from the speakers earlier that day. “The speakers this evening were calling for a revolution. Now I don’t know what y’all think about a revolution, but I’m all for it.” She pauses with a big smile and says, “thank you, Caitlin,” seemingly in response to a comment she observed pop up on her screen. Picking up where she left off, Ms. Cudd then says, “nobody actually wants war, nobody wants bloodshed, but the government works for us and unfortunately, it appears that they have forgotten that, quite a lot. So, if a revolution is what it takes then so be it. I don’t know if that is going to kick off tomorrow or not, we shall see what the powers that be choose to do with their powers. And, we shall see what it is that happens in Congress tomorrow at our United States Capitol. So, either way, I think that either our side or the other side is going to start a revolution.” Ms. Cudd maintained an even-tempered, sweet storytelling voice throughout the soliloquy. Ms. Cudd continued talking for another two minutes, but about the Georgia election. She concluded the Facebook Live video by saying, “I truly believe that we’re fighting a spiritual battle. And once again, we shall see what happens tomorrow.”
Ms. Cudd had not previously discussed this concept of a revolution. And, not taking time to mull over her thoughts before repeating the speakers’ talking points, and not knowing what the next day would bring, Ms. Cudd didn’t pause to consider possible misconceptions about her Facebook Live discussion and the need to clarify her words.
On January 6, Ms. Cudd went to the Ellipse to hear President Trump’s speech with a group of other Trump supporters she recognized from prior protest events, who were also staying at the Willard Hotel. This is the hotel Ms. Cudd stayed in when previously visiting Washington DC. It was a great place to meet like-minded individuals with whom Ms. Cudd would socialize in the lobby.
After the speech, she went back to the hotel to use the restroom and refresh. Then, she made her way to the Capitol, where the protest was scheduled to continue. On her walk to the Capitol Ms. Cudd was surrounded by thousands of protesters who were all moving in one direction like a wave.
Once at the Capitol, Ms. Cudd continued following the crowd. She was enjoying herself and not considering whether the protest was escalating. She was making selfie videos for Facebook and retelling stories of what she was hearing from members of the crowd.
Eventually, Ms. Cudd found herself near an open set of doors of the Capitol building. She proceeded inside, walking in after about 100 other protesters proceeded through those doors, and one of the individuals she knew from prior protest events, Eliel Rosa. She passed by a line of Capitol police officers, who didn’t say a word to Ms. Cudd (and one officer even appeared to encourage a protestor who entered in front of her). She proceeded inside of another set of doors, also guarded by a Capitol officer, and went through, again without any negative interaction with law enforcement. Once in the hallway of the Capitol, she joined hundreds of other protestors and proceeded to walk around the hallways and rotunda.
While inside the Capitol, Ms. Cudd stayed within the red velvet ropes of the stanchions placed for tourists whenever she encountered them. In the Statutory Hall, she walked only within the ropes. In the Rotunda, she walked within the ropes until an open area without ropes, then proceeded through the open area into the Rotunda. Inside the Rotunda and hallways, she took photos and chatted with protesters. About 19 minutes after entering, she exited.
Jenny Cudd did not go into any closed spaces or offices, nor did she go up or down any staircase. Every door she went through was an open door. She did not touch anything, did not remove anything from the Capitol, nor break anything. Moreover, when in the Rotunda, she observed someone banging the stanchions and yelled at them to stop, cautioning them not to destroy Capitol property — “Don’t break anything!” she yelled. Ms Cudd even joined a prayer circle for a few prayers.
When Ms. Cudd overheard a police officer saying “please exit the building,” she exited the building.
She went back out on the lawn and stayed outside the Capitol for a bit, speaking to various people. Ms. Cudd then went back to the hotel as the protest progressed into chaos. Ms. Cudd heard many different stories that day, some of which were partly true and partly false.
After arriving at the hotel, Ms. Cudd consumed some alcohol and recorded another Facebook Live video. “I’m going to tell you all what actually happened today, because you are not going to hear it on fake news. You’re not going to hear it on national news.” Jenny Cudd rambled on and on, for over 25 minutes straight, sipping a beer as she kept talking— her speech erratic, her eyes bloodshot and glassy, her skin flushed. Ms. Cudd’s appearance, mannerisms, speech, and disposition were observably affected by the alcohol. She began reciting the events of that day, using the term “we” indiscriminately to refer to anything and everything performed by the individuals she referred to as Patriots or Trump supporters.
“We were on the ellipse on the South Lawn, and listening to the president. And then before the speech was over, we started heading up to the Capitol. And I’m going to have a lot of language in this, just letting you know. There was already a group that started at the Capitol this morning. We start walking up to the Capitol, and we get the news that Pence betrayed us. He had way more power, and he wasn’t willing to exercise it. And when Pence betrayed us is when we decided to storm the Capitol.”
Now, Ms. Cudd did not head to the Capitol before the President’s speech was over, she went back to the hotel. The statement she made was about other individuals, not herself. Nonetheless, she used the term “we” collectively to describe what she observed and what others observed; what she heard and what others heard, etc. The actions of all people were comingled in her effusion as “we.”
She went on and on, and on and on, using the term “we” indiscriminately:
So we get up there, and the scaffolding that they had put up for the inauguration, there were people that were starting to climb it. We had to scale a wall to get there. There were people that were starting to climb the scaffolding, and we just pushed and pushed and pushed and pushed, and yelled “Go,” and yelled “Charge,” and on and on and on. We just pushed and pushed and pushed, okay? And we got in. We got up to the top of the Capitol. There was a door that was open. We went through the door, and we were inside. I don’t know the names of all of those rooms in there, but we were inside, and there were patriots everywhere. Everywhere. And guess what? We didn’t knock down any statues. We didn’t vandalize anything. But we did. As I say that, we did break down Nancy Pelosi’s office door, and somebody stole her gavel and took a picture sitting in the chair, flipping off the camera. And that was on Fox News…
Now, I do not know what is going to happen because they had to evacuate the Capitol before we charged it. So I don’t know what that triggers because I’m under the impression that the law is that you have to have Congress open and tally up the votes, right? So I don’t know what’s going to happen. I don’t know if they’re going to reconvene. I don’t know if they’re going to try to vote remotely… And we need to know because President Trump already told us, and of course, we know this to be true, that we will primary those son-of-a-bitches out…[Responding to something she sees on her screen] Hey, Ashley, I don’t know who you are, but I’m assuming you’re a liberal. Fuck yes, I’m proud of my actions. I fucking charged the Capitol with patriots today. Hell yes, I’m proud of my actions… I saw a guy that had been shot in the face with a rubber bullet and had a hole through his face. And I went over to him because I saw he was bleeding. And I said, “Can I get you anything? Do you want a medic? Do you want a cigarette? What can I get you?” And he said, “No, man, I’m good. It hurts to smoke. When I drank, it comes out of my cheek.”
When we left the Capitol, they could tell that we were starting to disperse, and so they started shooting off tear gas, explosions, flashbangs, everything. And I turned back, I turned back and I looked, and you can see all this smoke all over the Capitol…[Responding to something she read on her screen] Yeah. All you haters should exit to the left, because I’m not fucking scared, and neither are any of these patriots. Y’all, there were old men. I always talk about the old men because I just love them. There were old men here. One got somebody to carry his wheelchair up the steps. There were old men here with canes, and they climbed over those walls with us. I don’t know if they got in, but they climbed over those walls with us…
[Sipping a Coors Light beer]
And, sorry, I don’t usually drink on [Facebook] Lives, but I really don’t give a shit…
At the end of this video, she stated:
And I was here today on January 6th, when the new revolution started at the Capitol. That girl died. That girl died. Somebody’s teenage daughter that they brought to Washington DC to support the President. This is so much bigger than Trump. To support America at us having a free and fair elections, and Secret Service shot her. There are parents somewhere in the city right now that can’t even believe that their teenager daughter got killed inside of the Capitol. There is no answer for that. None… [This was in reference to Ashli Babbitt and what Ms. Cudd knew about her at the time.]
Jenny Cudd is known for her effervescent personality. The inebriated profanity was exceptionally unusual and uncharacteristic of her. She sounded devastated. Her speech was filled with bombastic rhetoric and unverified hearsay that she presented as her personal stories. Jenny is rather embarrassed looking back at that moment; she holds herself to a higher standard.
That evening, Ms. Cudd stayed in the social areas of the Willard Hotel for a couple more hours, socializing with hotel guests and helping a young girl find her family after she became separated from her parents.
The next day Ms. Cudd flew back home. She was invited to appear on a local Midland television show the following morning and she eagerly accepted the invitation, seizing the opportunity to clear her name after the drunken diatribe that Jenny felt embarrassed about. She participated in a nine-minute interview. In it, Ms. Cudd tried to clarify her language and her personal conduct the best that she could:
By the time I actually got to the Capitol there were people all over the scaffolding and the area in front they had set up for the inauguration. That entire set of bleachers and everything like that, and then people all over the lawn and all the way around the Capitol… anything that would have been torn down was already torn down before I got there as far as barricades or fencing or anything like that…
So by the time I actually got to the top of the steps of the Capitol of course that door was open and several hundred people were already inside so once I actually went inside to the Rotunda there were people taking pictures of the artwork, there was a prayer circle of about 12 to 15 people that I walked up to and also prayed with… There were people taking pictures and doing videos and plenty of Trump flags and just general excitement…
I am not afraid that the FBI may come looking for me. I know that the FBI put out immediately asking for information for anybody that engaged in violence or destruction of property. Now unfortunately most people didn’t see the qualifier in that. I know that several people have turned me in to the FBI. I personally know a local FBI agent and she has my cell phone number. I have not been contacted by any FBI or law enforcement even though they are aware that I was at the Capitol and inside the Capitol. So no, I am not afraid that the FBI may come and want to talk to me and I would be happy to talk to them…
Well by the time we got down to the Capitol after watching the President speak at the Ellipse then everyone walked to the Capitol and there were already Patriots who had started at the Capitol starting at like 6 AM that morning… so I do need to probably clarify some things and say that when I got there we pretty well walked up the steps and then there was an open door to the Capitol.
So if you watch the entire video and you watch any of my videos you know that the way that I speak is that I always say ‘we.’ So I say ‘we the patriots,’ ‘we whatever.’ I always say ‘we.’ So those things did happen by other people, but I was not a part of that, but in reference to it that ‘we the patriots stormed the Capitol’ and ‘some people went into different offices’ and different things like that…
I would do it again in a heartbeat because I did not break any laws. I went inside the Capitol completely legally and I did not do anything to hurt anybody or to destroy any property. So yes, I would absolutely do it again.
Ms. Cudd ceased public communications after that interview.
The Federal Investigation and Arrest
On the evening of January 6, after the Trump supporters left the Capitol, the FBI declared that they were investigating “violent activity” at the Capitol.
The very next day, the FBI announced an escalation — the investment of their full resources into a broader search, an indiscriminate search of “those involved,” irrespective of nonviolence or the severity of their individual involvement.
By January 8, the DOJ announced their first arrest for nonviolent activity. The FBI’s website, to this day, continues to say: “We have deployed our full investigative resources and are working closely with our federal, state, and local partners to aggressively pursue those involved in these criminal activities.” (Emphasis added). For perspective, “criminal activities” at the Capitol is a broad category that even includes stepping on the grass that grows on the grounds of the Capitol. See 40 U.S.C. § 5104(d).
On January 13, 2021, Jenny Cudd was arrested on nonviolent misdemeanor charges of unlawful entry into a restricted building and disorderly conduct inside of the Capitol. Although the government never possessed any evidence of violence by Ms. Cudd, and although the FBI had conducted interviews prior to the arrest and noted in an FD-302 that Ms. Cudd is not a “threat concern,” she was arrested in her flower shop by a team of at least eight heavily armed officers brandishing rifles and two K9s. Ms. Cudd was not alerted that she was wanted for misdemeanor offenses and was never given an opportunity to turn herself in on these charges, despite an FD-302 describing Ms. Cudd as “considerate, respectful, and generally a nice person.” Defense Exhibit 7.
The flower shop owner, whose office is cluttered with pink art and a large unicorn, was arrested without incident. She was briefly questioned in front of a humongous pink teddy bear adorning an oversized red bow. The rifles and K9s stayed put.
Ms. Cudd was released on personal recognizance.
The arrest shocked Ms. Cudd. But nothing could have prepared her for what followed. Jenny Cudd became the punching bag of social media and recipient of endless abuse and defamation by mainstream media. See Defendant’s Memorandum in Support of Motion to Transfer, ECF No. 27-1 and Reply to Government’s Opposition to Motion for Transfer, ECF No. 38. Ms. Cudd was personally targeted and scapegoated for the political ills of American society. She was threatened by strangers and received countless pieces of “hate mail.” Police reports were made in Alexandria, Virginia and in Midland, Texas to document some of the more serious incidents. Her flower shop was defaced, both physically and on various internet reviews sites. The abuse was relentless.
Nevertheless, she persisted.
And, as Ms. Cudd’s case has been pending for the duration of 14 months, Ms. Cudd remained in perfect compliance with her pretrial release conditions.