Prosecutors have ‘no position’ on the request of a woman charged in the U.S. Capitol riot to travel to Mexico’s Riviera Maya for a ‘company retreat’ with employees at the business she owns, according to her attorneys.
Jenny Louise Cudd, who runs Becky’s Flowers in Midland, Texas, on Monday requested court permission for the trip from February 18 to 21 while she is free on bail pending trial for misdemeanor charges of entering a restricted building and disorderly conduct.
In their motion requesting permission for the trip, Cudd’s attorney’s said that her pretrial service officer had no objection to her proposed travel plan, and that prosecutors took ‘no position’.
USA Today previously reported in error that a U.S. magistrate had approved the travel request, but no such order appears in the online docket, and the newspaper issued a correction saying that the travel request had not been granted as of Wednesday.
Cudd was originally arrested on January 13, after photos showed her inside the Capitol and her social posts suggested that she helped break down the door to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office.
The request Cudd submitted to the court had asked permission to participate in ‘a work-related bonding retreat for employees and their spouses.’
‘Prior to the alleged offense at issue, Ms Cudd planned and prepaid for a weekend retreat with her employees,’ her attorneys stated in their court filing.
One of the conditions of Cudd’s pretrial release was that she not travel outside the continental United States without court approval.
Cudd’s florist shop has about nine employees. Her court request did not specify where they planned to stay in the Riviera Maya, a stretch of Caribbean coastline on Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula that is filled with luxurious all-inclusive resorts.
Cudd went viral following the January 6 riot when she made a video from inside the Capitol, saying: ‘We didn’t knock down any statues, we didn’t vandalize anything – but we did break down Nancy Pelosi’s office door.’
Cudd denies doing anything violent or damaging property and has pleaded not guilty.
‘I went inside the Capitol completely legally and I did not do anything to hurt anybody or destroy any property,’ she told KWES-TV.
She said that she didn’t personally go into Pelosi’s office or see the breaking down of the door, but was speaking in a collective sense about people at the Capitol.
Her attorney, Don Flanary, said that the misdemeanor charges reflected that.
‘She’s basically just been charged with being there,’ he told CBS. ‘She did not break into Nancy Pelosi’s office. She didn’t go anywhere inside or near it.’
He added: ‘We’re pretty confident that the cameras will show she was only in the public portions of the Capitol.’
Cudd was one of several political candidates who took part in the siege, along with former US House nominee Rick Saccone of Pennsylvania and recently-elected lawmaker Derrick Evans of West Virginia, who later resigned.
Cudd came last in a three-way mayoral race in Midland, Texas, in November 2019, and current mayor Patrick Payton said he was ‘saddened’ by her involvement in the mob.
‘It saddens me. And that’s just as far as I’m willing to comment on that. It saddens me,’ he said.
Cudd is also a cannabis entrepreneur, with interests in two Oklahoma-based farms.
She has said that her flower shop was bombarded with online reviews calling her a terrorist and a traitor, and that she has even received death threats.
Cudd is scheduled to appear in a preliminary hearing on February 4 before Magistrate Judge Robin M. Meriweather, sitting in Washington DC, where the charges were filed.
Cudd is facing up to a year behind bars or a $100,000 fine if found guilty.