Federal Judge Sentences 69-Year-Old Grandmother with Cancer to 2 Months in Jail for ‘Parading’ in the Capitol on January 6

by Debra Heine


A federal judge has sentenced a 69-year-old Idaho grandmother and cancer patient to two months behind bars for parading in the Capitol, a misdemeanor.

Pam Hemphill pleaded guilty in January to one count of demonstrating, picketing, or parading in a Capitol building.  The diminutive senior was photographed inside the Capitol Rotunda.

Hemphill, a former drug and alcohol counselor, flew to Washington, D.C. from Idaho on Jan. 5 hoping to see the results of the 2020 presidential election overturned. She was arrested in August of 2021.

At her sentencing hearing Tuesday, Senior U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth, a Reagan appointee, flatly told Hemphill that she will be serving time behind bars.

In addition to the 60 days in jail, Hemphill will spend three years on supervised release. Pursuant to her plea agreement, she will also have to pay $500 in restitution toward the estimated $2.7 million in damages to the Capitol.

“I’m heading to the prison! Just know your prayers and support is keeping me going emotionally and spiritually! Love you guys dearly!” she tweeted on Tuesday.

She reported to the FCI Dublin, a low security correctional facility near San Francisco on Wednesday.

In an interview with Newsmax host Greg Kelly Tuesday night, Hemphill said she was “really frightened” and “scared.”

“I’ve never been to jail—ever,” Hemphill said. “I’m really frightened—I’m scared.”

She said she was pushed into the building, and never picketed or paraded.

“But if that’s what they wanted me to plead guilty to, so I thought okay, my lawyer advised me,” Hemphill told Kelly.

Government prosecutors say the 69-year-old cancer patient pushed through police lines three different times as the crowd outside the Capitol grew violent, and encouraged rioters to push their way inside the building while exaggerating how “frail” she was. Prosecutors did not show video of Hemphill chiding another protester for stealing a book while inside the Capitol building.

“Don’t steal, don’t harm,” she can be heard saying in video footage. “That’s not good.”

During Hemphill’s sentencing hearing, prosecutors alleged that when police offered to help her, she “presented herself as a frail woman who had been overwhelmed and injured by the crowd, and not as the agitator she truly is.”

The grandmother had had cancer surgery prior to coming to Washington, and can be heard telling officers that she had “40 stitches.”

According to Law and Crime, Prosecutor Katherine Nielsen played video during the hearing that showed Hemphill interacting with police officers who were trying to help her.

“I had to get out of that crowd,” Hemphill is heard telling an officer. “I had surgery.”

“I understand, I don’t want you being hurt,” the officer said.

“I’m a journalist, they took my breath out,” Hemphill added.

“I’m sorry for this situation,” an officer replied, before telling Hemphill to head to a gate for refuge.

Prosecutors said Hemphill didn’t take their advice because she was allegedly seen in a subsequent video encouraging the crowd to press forward into the Capitol.

“Just come on in,” she allegedly yelled at the crowd. “It’s your house, whose house does it belong to?”

“You just come in, come on in, come on, have fun, you just come in, it’s all you do,” she is allegedly heard saying. “This is your house. Your house!”

Prosecutors claimed that Hemphill presented herself as frail to the police to distract them from doing their jobs.

However, video footage shows her clearly in distress, and out of breath, telling officers that she needs to sit down.

“Are you hurt? What were you doing?” an officer could be heard saying.

“I got her,” another officer said. “Come on. Are you ok?”

“I got 40 stitches,” Hemphill could be heard telling the officers, referring to the cancer surgery she had had prior to coming to Washington.

Nielsen, the prosecutor, argued that “these interactions were an attempt by Hemphill to draw police away from protecting the Capitol building as rioters pushed forward.”

“When another [police] officer offered protection, she falsely stated she tried to calm down the crowd,” Nielsen said. “These are not the actions of a citizen journalist. These are the actions of a rioter.”

Hemphill, Nielsen insisted, “repeatedly asked the police for help while consistently undermining their efforts. She needlessly drew resources from the police at a time they were desperately needed.”

“As tempting as it is to be lenient in this kind of situation, what I have discerned is it is such a serious offense because it’s such a serious event in the history of our country,” Judge Lamberth said. “I have to agree with the government’s recommendation in this case. I believe that there has to be a penalty when there is a serious offense like this.”

In contrast, Ray Epps, the Arizona man who is seen on video repeatedly urging protesters to storm the Capitol, has not been sentenced to any jail time, and has ironically been defended in the corporate media as someone who is being unjustly harassed by conservatives who think he’s a fed.

In a sympathetic piece on Tuesday, the New York Times reported that Epps has become “the unwitting face of an attempt by pro-Trump forces to promote the baseless idea that the F.B.I. was behind the attack on the Capitol.”

Hemphill told Greg Kelly that the man who pushed the gate in and assaulted an officer, was never arrested.

“He’s like another Epps,” she said. There’s ten of them that are not on the FBI list,” she added.

The grandmother told Kelly that after the gates were pushed in, officers pulled her over them, and told her to go over to another officer, who told her to go over to some other officers who were standing on the Capitol steps.

“So I went to the steps, but as you see, somebody pushed me on another officer, and stepped on my head, cut my knee, broke my glasses—I almost got killed there,” she explained.  “The officer saw that and put me behind them, again, and I was told by the prosecutor that I was taking the Capitol Police away from their job to help me.”

The grandmother spoke on her own behalf at her sentencing hearing Tuesday, saying that she “fully” regretted her actions on Jan. 6.

“I regret everything I did and said at that Capitol,” she said. “Not to excuse my actions, [but] my intentions were to record what was going on, not to be a a part of it. It was as if I was at a football game cheering on the team from the stands and then the fans went on to the field.”

Hemphill, given her health issues, had requested a sentence of probation.

Judge Lamberth suggested that he needed to make an example out of the 69-year-old, saying in his sentencing that he didn’t want a repeat of what happened with Jan. 6 defendant Anna Morgan-Lloyd, who appeared on Fox News and appeared to walk back the (likely coerced) remorse she had expressed the day before in his court.

“The first sentencing I did, I did a sentence of probation and it turned out to be a serious sentencing error on my part,” Lamberth said. “The defendant seemed contrite at the time and the next day made statements on national TV that were embarrassing to me, as well as her, and it turned out I have a hard time discerning the sincerity.”

Hemphill told Kelly that she “is still under the care of her physician for cancer.”

“It’s rough,” she said. I don’t have a criminal background. What am I going to prison for? My lawyer said it was the lowest crime that you can be charged with.”

Hemphill’s daughter videotaped her mother as they pulled into FCI Dublin Prison for women.

“I’m scared to death. I’m frightened, but I know God’s with me,” she said.


Supporters have set up a GiveSendGo page for Hemphill. So far, the page has raised $4000.

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Debra Heine is a regular contributor to American Greatness.
Photo “Pamela Hemphill” by Pamela Hemphill.





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