Two Chicago-area women have been arrested on charges alleging they entered the U.S. Capitol shortly after rioters breached a Senate wing door and later tried to get back in the building before being turned away by police.
Trudy Castle, 57, and Kimberly DiFrancesco, 55, were both charged in a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Washington with misdemeanor counts of disorderly conduct and unlawfully entering a restricted government building. The women are related, but their exact relationship was not stated in the charges.
Castle, who works as a property manager for a downtown real estate company, was arrested Wednesday and appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Heather McShain, who released her on her own recognizance.
A lawyer for Castle was not listed on the court docket as of Thursday, and she did not return messages left at her office.
DiFrancesco, of Elmhurst, was arrested Thursday and had been scheduled to appear by phone before McShain later in the afternoon. Details of that hearing were not immediately available.
The women are the 29th and 30th Illinoisans to have been charged in the Capitol breach, an ongoing investigation that has been described by prosecutors as the largest criminal probe in the country’s history.
Nationwide, about 800 people have been arrested as of this month in all 50 states and the District of Columbia on charges stemming from the Capitol breach, according to the U.S. Justice Department.
According to the complaint, Castle and DiFrancesco were both seen on surveillance footage entering the Capitol building through a Senate wing door shortly after it had been breached by the unruly mob.
Images included in the complaint allegedly showed the two as they walked through the building to the elevator bank near the visitors center. In one of the images, Castle, dressed in a white jacket and red and blue “Trump” hat with a pom-pom, could be seen walking past chairs from an earlier clash with police that had been strewn on the floor.
Castle was also captured on surveillance going under a security door “just after rioters interfered” with its operation, according to the complaint. The images showed Castle walking through the breached door “using her arm in what appears to be an effort to protect her head or move the door up should the door deploy downward again,” the complaint stated.
Castle and DiFrancesco left the Capitol building after about 40 minutes, where Castle met up with her adult son, according to the complaint. About an hour later, the women appeared to try to get back in the building through the same breached Senate door but were unsuccessful, according to the complaint.
“At that time, law enforcement officers pushed away the rioters, and the women appear to depart,” the complaint stated.
The women were identified by law enforcement after a tipster called the FBI field office in Dallas on Jan. 15, 2021, and reported that DiFrancesco had sent photos from her cellphone from inside the Capitol, according to the complaint.
Last week, Matthew Bokoski, of Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood, was also charged with misdemeanor counts alleging he and his father entered the Capitol through breached a Senate Parliamentarian door.
The father and son walked down a hallway as part of a crowd before the group was met with a line of 10 to 15 police officers, according to the complaint. Both men later turned around and left after being in the building for about five minutes.