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Trump embraces woman convicted of Jan. 6 crimes, helps raise money for legal costs

Former president Donald Trump said Friday that a Colorado woman convicted of four federal misdemeanor charges related to the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol is a “patriot” and shared a link on social media where people can donate money to help defray her legal expenses.

The woman, Rebecca Lavrenz, was convicted this week in Washington of disorderly and disruptive conduct and three other charges. In his posting to nearly 7 million followers on Truth Social, Trump referred to her as “one of Joe Biden’s J6 HOSTAGES!!”

Trump, who clinched the Republican presidential nomination last month, has increasingly turned his attention and resources to people charged and convicted in the violent attack, which injured dozens of law enforcement officers and forced lawmakers — as well as Mike Pence, Trump’s vice president at the time — to temporarily go into hiding for their own safety.

According to court papers, Lavrenz said she was at the Capitol on Jan. 6 and saw people move aside physical barriers that had been put in place to prevent them from entering the building. She followed a stream of people into the building, went up a flight of stairs, spoke to a Capitol police officer, and then left the building, according to court documents.

She could be sentenced to up to a year in prison and ordered to pay fines of more than $200,000, according to the Denver Gazette.

Larenz, 71, has become known on social media as the “J6 Praying Grandma,” a reference to her contention that she drove across the country to pray for the nation in Washington on the day of the “Stop the Steal” rally, the Gazette reported.

Trump used the moniker in his social media post, claiming she had been “unfairly targeted” by the Justice Department. His post includes a link to a website where she is trying to raise $100,000 for a legal-defense fund.

Trump’s has increasingly embraced the cause of those arrested and convicted of crimes in the attack on the Capitol.

In January 2022, Trump suggested he would pardon Jan. 6 rioters. By that September, he further embraced their cause, vowing to give “full pardons with an apology to many” of those people. At his campaign rally in March 2023, Trump played a song sung by people held convicted, or charged, with Jan. 6 crimes.

As Trump locked up the GOP presidential nomination, his Republican allies in the Congress have also expressed sympathy for Jan. 6 criminals and downplayed the violence that occurred that day. The Republican House Conference Chair, Rep. Elise Stefanik (N.Y.), who has been talked about as a possible Trump running mate, referred to “January 6 hostages” in a televised interview.

Another possible running mate, Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), has declined to say whether he would have certified the 2020 election results, to which Trump objected and urged his followers to oppose.

This post appeared first on The Washington Post

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