WASHINGTON — A Beverly Hills cosmetologist who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, in support of the man she calls “Trumpy Bear,” recently told fellow supporters that she only pleaded guilty “to stay out of jail,” that she didn’t read the plea deal she signed, and that she doesn’t think Capitol defendants will get locked away for a long time because former President Donald Trump is “coming back.”

Gina Bisignano is a Trump supporter who wore a Louis Vuitton sweater as she used a bullhorn to call for “strong, angry patriots” in the mob to help fight police at the Capitol. “We the people are not going to take it anymore!” Bisignano said on the bullhorn. “You are not going to take away our Trumpy Bear! You are not going to take away our votes!”

In the plea deal she finalized under seal in August, Bisignano admitted that she had videoed herself storming the Capitol and saying she was going to “break into Congress,” encouraged other rioters to “break the window,” and then urged rioters to invade the Capitol through the broken window. Under the plea deal, Bisignano was supposed to cooperate with the government, and could receive credit at sentencing for demonstrating acceptance of responsibility.

But in a recording of a recent voice chat she had with supporters of Jan. 6 defendants, obtained by NBC News, Bisignano didn’t exactly strike a conciliatory tone. Bisignano confirmed that it is her on the recording.

Gina Bisignano states in part “they sprayed me in the face” and gestures to the makeup in disarray on her face as apparent proof.Department of Justice

It’s the latest indication that comments from Trump are having an impact on the ongoing prosecutions of Jan. 6 defendants, as rioters wonder if he could return to power and spare them the legal consequences for their actions. At a recent rally, Trump told supporters that if he returns to the White House, he will consider pardoning riot participants.

In her chat with supporters, Bisignano said she didn’t know why she did what she did, but that the pro-Trump mob was fueled by “very righteous anger.” Bisignano claimed in the recording that police at the U.S. Capitol “attacked” the mob of Trump supporters. She claimed that police actions — after the mob broke through barricades and gave a female U.S. Capitol Police officer a concussion — “riled everybody up.” And she suggested that the apology she gave to a judge during her guilty plea wasn’t exactly full-hearted.

“I said, ‘Your Honor, I’m sorry for going into the Capitol,'” Bisignano told supporters after her guilty plea. “I said ‘Your honor, I apologize.’ He goes ‘Thank you. Thank you.’ I said ‘You’re welcome.’ But I didn’t say what I’m sorry for. I’m sorry for being in a federal building and getting in trouble. But I believe what I believe, and everybody knows that.”

Jan. 6, 202202:58

Bisignano in the recording called Judge Carl Nichols “a nice judge,” and said that she hoped he’d look favorably upon her cooperation. But she encouraged another Jan. 6 defendant on the call not to take a plea deal, and indicated she had regrets about her own plea.

“If you don’t have to do it, if you could hold it out, don’t do it. I wish I didn’t. Just wait it out, wait it out,” she said. “I wish that I was stronger, because I was so weak when I signed it.”

“If I could do it again,” Bisignano said of signing a plea deal, “I wouldn’t.”

However, when asked by NBC News about her statements, Bisignano said that she did not regret her plea.

“I didn’t say I regret the plea deal,” Bisignano said in an interview. “I think people should take plea deals … own up to what you did, and move forward.”

That’s much different from what she said in the call with supporters.

“I was forced to do a plea deal because I was so damn scared for my life, and I don’t even know what I signed, because I couldn’t even get myself out of bed,” she told fellow Trump supporters. “I’m signing this to stay out of jail,” she said she told her lawyer, who she said she paid $80,000.

“They corner you into a plea deal,” she said. “I can’t spend any more money on an attorney, I can’t go back to prison.”

Gina Bisignano, video shows, was among the first group of rioters to enter the tunnel on the west side of the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.Department of Justice

Bisignano said in the interview that prosecutors had already raised concerns about her comments regretting her plea deal. Bisignano’s lawyer did not respond to a message requesting comment. A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the District of Columbia, which is prosecuting Bisignano, said the office does “not comment on pending matters.”

Bisignano told NBC News she didn’t regret the plea deal because she wanted to assist the investigation and move on with her life.

“I want to help, because I want to get out of this mess,” Bisignano said. “What am I going to do, be like all these other people and try to fight something that we’re never going to win?”

Bisignano pleaded guilty to six counts, including the felonies obstruction of an official proceeding and civil disorder. Her estimated sentencing guidelines range is 41 to 51 months in federal prison, according to court documents unsealed in December, although the plea deal allows either party to seek a variance and ask the court to impose a sentence outside of that range.

Feb. 8, 202208:58

The plea deal also required Bisignano’s cooperation. That’s how Bisignano found herself testifying before a grand jury about Danny Rodriguez, another rioter from California, who attacked a D.C. Metro police officer with a stun gun.

One thing that Bisignano was insistent about in the voice chat with supporters of Jan. 6 defendants is that she would never turn on her favorite president.

“I’m not squealing on anybody, I don’t blame the president,” she said. “It wasn’t the president’s fault at all.”

Bisignano, video shows, was among the first group of rioters to enter the tunnel on the west side of the Capitol, where some of the most brutal battles took place. Despite being a part of the mob that overran the police line, she insisted that it was officers who were in the wrong first.

“The cops attacked us. I was the first one there in the tunnel, you guys,” she said on the supporter call. But judges and prosecutors, she claimed, “don’t care that somebody bear maced me in the face, they don’t care a cop hit me with a club, it didn’t matter. Their thing is, we weren’t supposed to be there.”

The FBI has arrested more than 725 people in connection with the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol attack, and hundreds more arrests are in the works. The total number of individuals who could be charged for either unlawfully entering the Capitol or attacking officers or members of the media outside the building is more than 2,500.

Dec. 1, 202106:02

The supporter phone call took place the same day Trump indicated that he might pardon Jan. 6 defendants if he deemed it necessary. Bisignano, in the phone call with supporters, told another defendant that they couldn’t lock the other defendant away forever. “Trump’s coming back,” she said.

Bisignano told NBC News that she hopes Trump does come back, but isn’t holding out hope for a pardon. “I’m not banking on it,” she said.

Bisignano’s plea deal left open the question of whether she still believed in conspiracy theories about the election.

“At the time, BISIGNANO believed that the 2020 Presidential election results were fraudulent or stolen,” it stated. “BISIGNANO admits that her belief that the Electoral College results were fraudulent is not a legal justification for unlawfully entering the Capitol building and attempting to influence, stop, or delay the Congressional proceeding.”

Bisignano’s call with supporters of Jan. 6 defendants, however, left little doubt where she stands.

“I still know the election was stolen, there’s no doubt,” Bisignano said. “No doubt.”

Source: | This article originally belongs to Nbcnews.com

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