A Beverly Hills salon owner, who took part in the mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 and later pleaded guilty to six criminal charges, now says she wants to withdraw her plea to one of the counts in which she admitted, “corruptly obstructing, influencing, or impeding an official proceeding.”
Gina Bisignano, who earlier this year told supporters she didn’t read the plea agreement she signed, and told NBC News in an interview that she signed it because she was scared, said in court papers filed Friday that she didn’t know a Senate hearing was taking place when she was among a first group of rioters that tried to push through police lines on the west side of the Capitol.
“To the contrary, she told the Government that she just followed the crowd, and thought that they were going to put pressure on Mike Pence,” Bisignano’s motion said.
“She also stated that she smoked some marijuana and drank alcohol, which contributed to her lack of knowledge,” it said.
Bisignano’s attorney in Virginia did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the motion, which also argued her plea hearing was not conducted carefully, and that the specific federal statute she pleaded guilty to is ambiguous as to whether or not her actions that day met the wording of the law.
“Nothing in Count One of the Indictment alleges, let alone implies, that Bisignano took some action with respect to a document, record, or other object in order to corruptly obstruct, impede or influence Congress’s certification of the electoral vote,” the motion said.
Lastly, Bisignano’s lawyer argued in the motion that the plea was coerced by prosecutors, even though Bisignano answered, “No,” when she was asked at the plea hearing whether or not anyone had threatened or forced her to plead guilty.
“She believed that she under duress [sic] and had no choice in the matter,” her motion said.
In a February interview with NBC News Bisignano said she did not regret her plea, shortly after she was recorded on call with supporters of a number of the January 6 defendants – that she was ‘weak’ when she signed it.
“I was forced to do a plea deal because I was so damn scared for my life, and I don’t even know what I signed, because I couldn’t even get myself out of bed,” she told fellow Trump supporters. “I’m signing this to stay out of jail,” she said she told her lawyer, who she said she paid $80,000.
The plea agreement also required Bisignano to cooperate with federal investigators and prosecutors, and has already testified at a grand jury hearing related to another person from Southern California charged with participating in the riot and using a stun gun on a Capitol Police officer.