Two Illinois sisters — one from Chicago — pleaded guilty Wednesday to joining the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, and now each faces up to six months in prison.
Sentencing for Trudy Castle and Kimberly DiFrancesco is set for Nov. 22 in U.S. District Court in Washington.
Castle, who told U.S. District Court Judge Christopher Cooper she manages a high-rise in downtown Chicago, pleaded guilty to one count of misdemeanor parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building. DiFrancesco, who lives in Elmhurst and has a master’s degree in business, pleaded guilty to the same charge.
Federal officials say they became aware of the pair after someone shared photos that had been texted to their spouse by DiFrancesco. Authorities said they then found images of DiFrancesco wearing a red hooded sweatshirt, green pants, a black jacket and a black backpack approaching the Senate wing door of the Capitol at 2:19 p.m. on Jan. 6, 2021.
Five minutes later, they said the same woman could be seen entering the Capitol through the Senate wing door. Next to her was a woman, believed to be Castle, wearing a white jacket, dark pants and a “Trump” knit hat, carrying multiple small American flags and a black satchel.
The women allegedly made their way from the northwest side of the building to the elevator lobby near the Visitor Center on the southeast side. At one point, federal officials say Castle could be seen walking through a security door that had been used unsuccessfully to try to block access to a hallway. As it was opening, Castle allegedly used her arm either to protect her head or move the door up. DiFrancesco could be seen following her, records show.
From there, the feds say the women could be seen making their way down to the lower-level Visitor Center, where DiFrancesco appeared to be talking on a handheld radio.
The women exited the building at 3:02 p.m. but did not leave the vicinity, according to federal officials. They allegedly sat outside and met up with a man the feds identified as Castle’s adult son.
At 4:21 p.m., the women allegedly tried to get back into the Capitol. But law enforcement pushed rioters away that time and the women appeared to leave. At 4:33 p.m., they were seen on the north side of the building.