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Rochester woman charged in Jan. 6 insurrection has a new lawyer and legal strategy

Claiming she was a victim of police brutality, she emerges as a sympathetic figure in conservative media.

Victoria White Jan. 6 arrest
A photo of Victoria C. White being arrested on Jan. 6, 2021, at the U.S. Capitol was included in U.S. District Court filings in support of the federal charges.
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Victoria White, a Rochester woman who faces four felonies for her alleged role in the Jan. 6 insurrection that forced the suspension of the 2020 election certification process, has a new attorney and a new legal strategy.

Contrary to her portrayal as an active participant in the chaos, as described in court documents and video evidence, her attorney, Joseph McBride, argues that White was a victim of police brutality at the west terrace entrance of the Capitol.

In a post to Twitter on Dec. 22, McBride wrote, “Victoria White was pushed into the Tunnel. She was then BRUTALLY BEATEN by OFFICER WHITE SHIRT. Dozens of baton blows. A defenseless woman, she is PULVERIZED for wearing a TRUMP Hat.”

In that fashion, after months of silence following her April 8 arrest by FBI special agents, White’s case has suddenly burst forth in conservative media within the last week, portraying her as a sympathetic figure.

The Epoch Times and Gateway Pundit, both far-right conservative media websites, recently carried stories about White’s case and her alleged maltreatment by Metropolitan Police Department officers.

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White recently appeared on Newsmax TV, a conservative media news channel that emerged as a competitor with Fox News for cable-watching Trump loyalists in the weeks following the 2020 election. She told Newsmax anchor Greg Kelly in her interview that her alleged maltreatment by police revived traumatic memories of her domestic abuse.

“After the first hit with the metal baton, my mind went into protection mode,” White said, at one point wiping tears from her face. “I just remember being hit. It brought back a lot of traumatic things I thought I had worked through.”

And on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show, McBride appeared to allude to White without mentioning her by name, alleging that a MAGA hat-wearing woman “was beaten within an inch of her life.”

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White did not respond to a message left on her Facebook Messenger page seeking comment.

The fresh portrayal of White’s role at the Jan. 6 riot is at odds with the descriptions found in court documents and video evidence supporting the charges against her.

Since supporters of then-President Donald Trump descended on the U.S. Capitol nearly a year ago — disrupting the certification of the presidential election and forcing Congress to go into lockdown — 727 people have been arrested and charged with crimes, according to a Dec. 14 Insider article.

The outpouring of stories and interviews in conservative media about White’s case was triggered by the release of a video that had been under court seal until last week, when a judge released three hours of the footage at McBride’s request, according to The Epoch Times.

Her cause celebre status in conservative media circles also reflects a more aggressive legal defense strategy that seeks to depict members of law enforcement as the villains in the insurrection, rather than the rioters themselves.

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At the time that White found herself in the entrance, officers were attempting to prevent rioters from entering the Capitol building in a violent skirmish marked by the spraying of mace from both sides and chants by the rioters, “Pull the cops out! Pull the cops out!”

McBride says that White was struck nearly three dozen blows before she was handcuffed and led away. He says a white-uniformed supervisor punched White with his bare fist and grabbed her hair and jerked her head back and forth.

It is hard to tell from the murky video taken from the back of the tunnel entrance what is exactly happening to White. An officer reaches over a shield many times with his baton to strike at someone, presumably White, but White pops in and out of the video in ways that make it hard to determine who the officer is hitting.

White was arrested and placed in zip-tie handcuffs by officers and escorted through the Capitol building into a police vehicle. And while there is a red, bloody mark on her forehead, White walks under her own volition and doesn’t look to be beaten “within an inch of her life.”

Victoria White at Capitol
A screenshot taken from a YouTube video of the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol was included in the included in U.S. District Court filings in support of the federal charges. White was circled in red by law enforcement agents and is said to be arguing with people who were attempting to break glass.

Court documents note that on Jan. 8, two days after the riot, White posted on Facebook a link to libertyroundtable.com of an interview with a person law enforcement officials say is White. Another participant on the podcast states that White “personally stopped Q, Antifa, BLM members from breaking into the White House, breaking glass.”

In the podcast, White describes her confrontation with rioters attempting to break the glass. Then she states that she was trying to get into the building, which at the time was closed to the public.

“So they’re pushing to like get in, which I confess, I admit, I was pushing to get in because I’m assuming it’s just another doorway up to the next level,” White says.

Court documents also describe White as raising her fist and cheering as the rioters force a large flagpole into the entranceway where MPD police are standing guard. Later, White helps “hoist up another rioter, who then makes his way to the entrance and proceeds to assault the MPD rioters.”

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“White is seen pointing and cheering as the rioter swings from the top of the entranceway and kicks the MPD officers,” the document states.

White pleaded not guilty to the charges against her in September. In the Newsmax interview, Kelly states that White has already spent four months in jail.

When asked by Kelly why she traveled to Washington to participate in the “Stop the Steal” event, White said she thought it would be “another Trump rally, plus we would be able to let our voices be heard that, you know, an election was stolen.”

Matthew Stolle has been a Post Bulletin reporter since 2000 and covered many of the beats that make up a newsroom. In his first several years, he covered K-12 education and higher education in Rochester before shifting to politics. He has also been a features writer. Today, Matt jumps from beat to beat, depending on what his editor and the Rochester area are producing in terms of news. Readers can reach Matthew at 507-281-7415 or mstolle@postbulletin.com.
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