A Mercer County woman indicted on multiple federal charges for her alleged role the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol attack is seeking a new attorney as she also apparently still considers a plea offer.
Rachel M. Powell, 41, of New Lebanon appeared in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., via telephone and video conference along with her defense attorney, Michael Engle of Philadelphia, for a status conference on Powell’s case. The Tribune attended the hearing via telephone conference.
Powell was arrested by the FBI in February 2021 for her alleged role in the attack. The FBI has charged that Powell and other riot participants used a pipe as a battering ram to destroy a window of the Capitol. The FBI alleges Powell also used a bullhorn to direct other rioters during the attack, earning her the nickname “the bullhorn lady.”
Powell was indicted on charges of obstruction of an official proceeding and aiding and abetting; destruction of government property; entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds with a deadly or dangerous weapon; disorderly and destructive behavior in a restricted building or grounds with a deadly or dangerous weapon; engaging in physical violence in a restricted building or grounds with a deadly or dangerous weapon; disorderly conduct in a capitol building; acts of physical violence in the capitol buildings or grounds; and demonstrating in a capitol building.
At Friday’s short hearing, both Assistant U.S. Attorney Lucy Sun and Engle told Senior U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth that a plea offer to Powell still remains on the table. A plea offer had been made to Powell in November.
Engle said Powell was in the process of getting a new attorney, but didn’t elaborate. Both Sun and Engle told the court they had agreed to a 60-day extension to allow Powell time to review the offer with her new attorney.
“I trust that the court received my letter regarding this issue,” Engle said. “Ms. Powell is seeking to engage new counsel. She hopes to go and do that — perhaps as early as next week.”
“As counsel for the government indicated, the plea offer is being held open so that she can consider that with her new attorney — once he or she has been engaged, your honor,” Engle said.
Contacted by the Tribune following the hearing, Engle said he could not comment on why he would not be Powell’s attorney as the case moved forward.
Powell remains free on personal recognizance bond. Powell’s next status hearing for the case is scheduled for March 2 in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.