RICHARDSON, Texas — Frisco realtor Jenna Ryan is one of more than 600 people arrested for storming the Capitol on Jan. 6, but she’s one of the most high-profile cases in the country because of her viral social media posts.
Last week, she was sentenced to 60 days in prison after pleading guilty to a Class B misdemeanor for parading, demonstrating or picketing within a Capitol building.
“I’ve plead guilty to entering the Capitol for two minutes and eight seconds,” Ryan said in an interview with WFAA Thursday.
She’s set to begin her sentence in January.
“It’s all you can think about,” Ryan said. “I’m watching all the YouTube videos on how prison is, how to go to prison, what to do.”
Ryan flew on a private plane with friends to the ‘Stop the Steal’ rally. Two of the people she was with, Jason Hyland and Katherine Schwab, have also been charged for Jan. 6 crimes.
After the rally that day, Ryan went back to her hotel with the group, but while watching news coverage, she decided to go back to the Capitol. She posted a video saying, “We're gonna go down and storm the Capitol. They’re down there right now and that's why we came, and so that's what we are going to do. So, wish me luck.”
“I meant we’re storming with our words, and we’re going down there to tell them, you know, it’s free speech,” Ryan said. “I was disappointed, and I felt betrayed by Pence.”
Ryan posted videos following thousands of other people inside the capitol.
“I wish that had not have been open, but a police officer was standing next to me. It was kind of like a Walmart greeter,” Ryan said. “It was a beautiful parade of red, flags, it wasn’t the violence you see on the news. It was very peaceful. Now, there was a broken window.”
Ryan claims she was not aware of violence shown in videos until she returned home later.
“All there were, were people who were standing up for election integrity, and the only person who got hurt was a protestor,” said Ryan.
More than 150 officers suffered injuries from chemical spray burns to head injuries and broken ribs. Some remained out of work for months. Officer Brian Sicknick died a day later of natural causes according to a medical examiner. Two men have been charged assaulting Sicknick by spraying him with bear spray.
“What should be the punishment then for the people involved,” WFAA asked Ryan. “I think that a ticket, she said. “A ticket. A $500 fine.”
In addition to her sentence, Ryan will also pay a $500 restitution and $1,000 fine.
Ryan’s punishment of 60 days in prison is stricter than most who plead to the same misdemeanor.
They range from 24 months probation to 6 months in prison.
A similar case is Matthew Mazzocco, of San Antonio, who also posted photos and was initially proud of his participation in the riot. He was eventually sentenced to 45 days in prison.
The judge pointed to Ryan’s high profile due to social media posts and lack of remorse as a reason for the sentence, like a tweet saying “Definitely not going to jail. Sorry I have blonde hair white skin a great job a great future and I’m not going to jail. Sorry to rain on your hater parade. I did nothing wrong.”
Ryan had hoped for a pardon from former President Trump. She says she’s not sure she would vote for him again yet, but she stayed at the Trump Hotel in DC when she was sentenced.
“They call him a racist but there was every race that greeted me at the door,” she said.
Ryan still believes Trump won the 2020 Presidential election despite audits and lawsuits, not finding credible evidence of widespread voter fraud and calls Jan. 6 a protest.
“It reminded me of like when you see videos from the 60s when people used to protest. I had no idea that this was illegal,” Ryan said.
“You mean like civil rights protests,” WFAA asked.
“Yeah, yeah that’s what it felt like,” Ryan answered.
In prison, she says she has plans to read books, and she’s planning to write a book in the future. In two months, she’ll begin her sentence for a crime she still believes wasn’t wrong.
“I’ll do my time and move on with my life,” she said. “But I just think like remorse, I think that’s a thought crime.”
The Dallas FBI field office has now arrested 32 people for Jan. 6 crimes. That’s the highest total of any field office in the country.
In a statement, Special Agent in Charge Matthew DeSarno said “individuals charged and arrested used the guise of First Amendment-protected activity to incite violence and wreak havoc."