June 9, 2021
Stephanie Baez, 27, was arrested and charged with “knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority” and “violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds” after authorities say she posted repeatedly from Washington D.C.
According to the FBI’s criminal complaint, the agency received a tip that a woman with the Instagram handle @stephmb293 was posting videos of herself at the insurrection. Investigators also were directed to a Reddit post that showed the same woman being interviewed outside the Capitol on January 6.
“How do you feel about the Proud Boys?” a man off-camera asks, referring to the Southern Poverty Law Center-designated hate group, of which multiple high-ranking members have been arrested for their involvement in the riot.
“I love the Proud Boys,” she replies, according to SFGate. “I want to find me a Proud Boy.” The man then asks for her number, and the woman provides her Instagram handle.
The FBI says that account is linked to a phone number with 714 area code, which includes Orange County, and that Baez posted repeatedly posted from the Capitol that day.
The complaint also shows multiple photos of Baez inside the Capitol—wearing red, white and blue eye shadow and tee-shirt adorned with George Orwell’s face. She posted a selfie of herself wearing the shirt, the FBI said, with the caption: “Welcome to 1984!”
When a photo of Baez circulated online in a tweet seeking to identify Capitol rioters, the complaint says she messaged an Instagram friend, “It’s my proudest moment. Just sucks they used such a horrible pic, I want to send them the one of me in my USA bikini and be like ‘here, please use this at least lol.'”
In an April interview with the FBI, Baez admitted the photos were of her, the complaint says. Baez also allegedly gave a series of reasons for why she was there that day, claiming she was in D.C. to attend a Trump rally and “look at medical schools.”
The FBI says Baez told investigators “she had authority to be inside the Capitol because she had looked up the Capitol’s hours ahead of time and confirmed that the Capitol would be open so that she could tour it,” but “later stated that it is possible that she read the website wrong.”
The complaint alleges Baez boasted to several friends on social media that she couldn’t get into legal trouble for what she did. “I already checked,” the complaint says she wrote. “Since we are legally allowed into the Capitol Building and I didn’t damage anything, I didn’t break the law.”
Baez was apprehended in Alabama, where she made a court appearance Friday and was released on a $10,000 bond. She is due back in court on June 9.
Research contact: @SFGate