White, from Rochester, Minnesota, had attended the "Stop the Steal" rally in Washington, DC, marking her first visit to the nation's capital. She was there to support then-President Trump.
The protest, initially peaceful, devolved into chaos as a mix of federal agents and Trump supporters clashed. White was reportedly struck multiple times in the face by Police Officer Jason Bagshaw and was beaten with sticks before being paraded through the US Capitol by a group of officers. She lost her shoes and coat in the process.
Four Trump supporters lost their lives on January 6, a fact that the January 6 Committee did not thoroughly investigate in their final report, according to critics. The Gateway Pundit, a conservative news outlet, reported on White's story and the Department of Justice's (DOJ) recommendation for a three-month prison sentence.
Critics argue that if the protesters had been affiliated with the Black Lives Matter movement or were people of color, the media coverage would have been more extensive and sympathetic. They contend that the DOJ has previously overlooked violent incidents involving these groups under the banner of free speech and journalism.
However, Trump supporters who protested the 2020 election results have been labeled as terrorists and prosecuted to the full extent of the law. White's case is seen as somewhat fortunate compared to what prosecutors initially sought.
Judge John D. Bates presided over the case, displaying what some perceived as bias against White. He corrected the prosecution's claim that White had prevented people from breaking multiple windows, emphasizing it was only one window. He also challenged the defense's argument that White was merely "swept up" in the crowd, suggesting she had intended to enter the Capitol regardless.
Despite his apparent bias, Judge Bates considered White's personal circumstances, including her two teenage children, one of whom has serious health complications, and her employment status. He labeled the January 6 protest an "assault on principles and democratic institutions" and criticized White for taking "pride in being a part of that riot."
The prosecution recommended a sentence of zero to six months, with the prosecutors asking for four months imprisonment and three years of supervised release. White, having pleaded guilty to a felony charge, has lost her right to possess a firearm and other rights, including the right to vote.
The prosecution argued that the situation in the Lower West Tunnel of the Capitol was "brutal" but not for White — for the police. They contended that none of the facts — including her lack of participation in violence, efforts to stop others from damaging the Capitol, and not entering the Capitol until she was arrested and beaten by police — should be mitigating factors in her sentencing.
The prosecution sought a heavier sentence because they believed White was angry at then-Vice President Mike Pence and was "willing to get arrested." They expressed concern over her public statements and argued that she had impeded police, necessitating her arrest.
"I have not seen evidence that she is remorseful," the prosecutor stated, suggesting that White sees herself as a "hero."
White addressed the court after the defense and prosecution had presented their arguments. Fighting back tears, she took "full responsibility" for her actions and spoke of the ongoing trauma resulting from her injuries. She expressed her intention to "turn her life around" and pleaded for the judge's mercy before her sentencing.