Arrest and Initial Appearance
23-year-old Balmaseda, a Florida International University (FIU) student and South Florida GOP strategist, was arrested on Thursday in Miami Lakes. She made her initial appearance in court, facing charges related to her participation in the Capitol riot on January 6, 2021.
Criticism and Attorney’s Statement
Balmaseda’s attorney, Aubrey Webb, criticized the arrest, calling it a “waste of law enforcement resources” for what he believes are minor charges. Webb compared her case to the unsolved pipe bomb incidents on Capitol Hill, questioning the FBI’s priorities.
Charges and Resolution
According to her attorney, Balmaseda is relieved that the legal process will finally move toward a resolution. She is not charged with violence or destruction of property, emphasizing the nature of her involvement in the riot.
Supreme Court Case and Jan. 6 Defendants
The Supreme Court recently agreed to hear a case involving three defendants from the Capitol riot. The outcome of this case could have implications for one of former President Trump’s criminal cases. Over 300 people have been charged by the Justice Department for obstructing an official proceeding in connection with the riot.
Communication and Selfie
Court documents reveal that Balmaseda exchanged hundreds of texts and images with former Gabriel Garcia, a member of the Miami-Dade Republican Party Executive Committee. They were photographed together leaving the Capitol steps on January 6. Garcia has already been found guilty on felony charges related to the riot.
Travel and Beliefs
Balmaseda traveled from Florida to Washington, D.C., to protest the result of the 2020 presidential election. Prior to her arrival, she exchanged messages reflecting her belief in the stolen election and her knowledge of the certification process.
Actions at the Capitol
According to federal prosecutors, Balmaseda was present near the Capitol building as the crowd of rioters grew. She entered the building just four minutes after the initial breach, encountering broken glass and alarms. She then joined a crowd of rioters and proceeded towards the Rotunda.
Exiting the Capitol
After taking photographs in the Rotunda, Balmaseda returned to the area where a group of rioters attempted to breach an officer line. Eventually, law enforcement officers were able to corral the rioters, including Balmaseda, towards the nearest exit.
The investigation into the events of January 6, 2021, and the individuals involved is still ongoing. More than 1,230 individuals have been charged across the United States for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol.