Indian Head Park woman pleads guilty in U.S. Capitol breach case, says she ignored alarms
Leticia Vilhena Ferreira was charged for her role in the Capitol riot last February. Though she couldn’t vote in the 2020 election, she said she traveled to Washington, D.C., because she wanted to see then-President Donald Trump speak.
A Brazilian citizen who lives in Indian Head Park pleaded guilty Wednesday to her role in the U.S. Capitol breach, admitting she entered the Capitol without permission on Jan. 6, 2021, even though alarms were sounding within the building.
Leticia Vilhena Ferreira, 33, told a judge during a plea hearing that she “didn’t pay attention” to those alarms, and she admitted she spent about 45 minutes inside the building. She pleaded guilty to parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building, a misdemeanor for which she faces up to six months behind bars.
Her sentencing has been set for Sept. 14.
Ferreira was charged for her role in the Capitol riot last February. She had been interviewed at her home by authorities on April 2, 2021, records show. And though she couldn’t vote in the 2020 election, she said she traveled to Washington, D.C., because she wanted to see then-President Donald Trump speak.
However, Ferreira said she didn’t get to hear Trump’s speech because so many people started to march toward the Capitol. She said she followed them into the building, and she gave the feds photos and videos she took that confirmed she had been in the Capitol that day.
The feds say alarms could be heard at the start of one of Ferreira’s recordings, prompting a judge to ask her about it Wednesday.
Though separate video showed Ferreira in the Capitol Crypt when rioters began to rush police, records show that “Ferreira did not appear to have participated in any assault on officers.”
An FBI task force officer wrote that the day after the breach Ferreira sent someone a text message that asked, “Do you think they will go after all the people walking in the capitol area?”
The unnamed recipient of that text replied, “Don’t be sad. Be prepared. We are all f---ed.”
Ferreira is one of 30 known Illinois residents who have been charged in the U.S. Capitol breach. It led to what has been described as likely the largest criminal investigation in U.S. history, as well as a series of ongoing congressional hearings.
At least 10 other Illinois residents have pleaded guilty to their role in the breach, but only Bradley Rukstales of Inverness has so far been sentenced to any time behind bars. A judge gave Rukstales 30 days in jail.