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California resident Megan Dawn Paradise—who urged protesters to charge up the Capitol’s east steps on Jan. 6 before stealing an autographed baseball from the office of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.)—testified about a fellow Californian to the FBI, leading to two criminal charges being filed against the man.
The FBI used information supplied by Paradise, 33, of Los Angeles, in a statement of facts supporting Jan. 6 criminal charges against Eric S. Christie, 56, of Sherman Oaks, Calif.
Paradise was placed on the FBI’s Jan. 6 most-wanted list as No. 9, but was never arrested or charged. Her name and photo are still on the list.
Christie is about to stand trial in Washington on charges of entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds with a dangerous weapon, and disorderly or disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds with a deadly weapon. The deadly weapon in question was a carpenter’s hammer hanging from his belt.
Carolyn Stewart, Christie’s defense attorney, said her client never entered the Capitol and was unaware of Paradise’s provocateur actions on the afternoon of Jan. 6.
Paradise is also on the radar of Joseph McBride, a defense attorney for Richard “Bigo” Barnett, 63, of Gravette, Arkansas, who faces more than seven years in federal prison for what McBride called much the same behavior as Paradise on Jan. 6.
“Do I think that she is working with the government? To some extent, absolutely,” McBride told The Epoch Times. “We’ve always believed that. It’s unexplainable that she went in and essentially did what Richard Barnett did and she hasn’t been prosecuted.” The Epoch Times has no information to suggest that Paradise was working for or with the FBI on Jan. 6th.
The east front of the U.S. Capitol was one of the major locations of violence on Jan. 6. The doors leading to the Great Rotunda were first breached at 2:24 p.m. A second breach a short time later allowed hundreds of protesters into the Capitol. Investigators say there was a coordinated attack by provocateurs on police with pepper spray at the end of the singing of the national anthem. Video footage shows Paradise was a loud, consistent voice urging protesters to go inside.
In a statement of facts dated Dec. 15, 2022, FBI Special Agent Kyle Hicks quoted information from “Person 1,” whom he described as “a participant in the riot at the U.S. Capitol.” The date of the FBI interview with Person 1, Jan. 12, 2021, matches that of Paradise’s FBI interview as detailed in an FBI Form 302 obtained by The Epoch Times.
She told the FBI that she ran into Christie near the Washington Monument on the morning of Jan. 6, 2021. They watched President Donald Trump’s speech on Christie’s cell phone in the lobby of his hotel. Both then proceeded to the east front of the Capitol, court documents said.
On the way to the Capitol, Paradise said she heard someone on a megaphone shout, “If you are not here to storm the Capitol, leave.” Others in the crowd said to get children out of the way.
Paradise “thought they wanted to remove the kids because the crowd was getting ready to storm the Capitol,” the FBI summary said. Paradise “thought the Proud Boys and military veterans would lead the assault on the Capitol.”
Late on Jan. 6, Paradise came to Christie’s room at the Kimpton George Hotel, frightened because she had stolen an autographed baseball from Pelosi’s office, the FBI document said. She asked Christie to hold onto it, but her attorney later asked Christie to give the baseball to him.
Paradise is seen holding the baseball in a photograph on the east steps of the Capitol, next to a man who said he swiped a bottle of wine from Pelosi’s office on Jan. 6.
The photo was taken by Scott Wheeler, who told The Epoch Times in September 2022 that the pair told him they took the items from Pelosi’s office. “She said at that time, ‘I sat at Pelosi’s desk and smoked a joint,’” Wheeler said.
Paradise came to the Jan. 12 FBI interview accompanied by “several attorneys” and was handed letters that “outlined the use of statements made by W1 [Paradise] during the interview,” according to the FBI summary. The letters were from the U.S. Attorney and the Attorney General for the District of Columbia. It’s not known if the letters included a grant of immunity or some other promise in exchange for her cooperation.
The Epoch Times was unable to reach Paradise or her attorneys for comment. The FBI did not respond to questions about Paradise.
The disclosure about Paradise providing information to FBI agents and prosecutors breathes new life into questions raised about her over the past 28 months.
Paradise sat at a desk in the Speaker’s Office, before lifting the baseball from a display of baseballs housed in clear plastic cubes, according to the FBI summary. She also took a Papermate pen. On a notepad on the desk, she scrawled, “You’re fired!”
Paradise sat at a desk adjacent to Barnett, who was famously photographed with his feet on the desk of one of Pelosi’s assistants.
Barnett was found guilty in January 2023 of eight Jan. 6-related charges, including theft of government property for taking a blank envelope from Pelosi’s office, for which he left a quarter on the desk as reimbursement. Prosecutors have recommended a federal judge sentence Barnett to 7.25 years in prison.
“Something is very wrong here,” McBride said.”When you’re looking at the fact that she showed up lawyered up and she got what appears to be some type of grant of immunity, that was without question worked out with her lawyers beforehand. There’s no question in my mind.” The Epoch Times was not able to confirm that Paradise received any type of immunity in exchange for her interview with the FBI.
‘We’re Going Inside!’
Paradise was seen on publicly available video on the east front of the Capitol on the afternoon of Jan. 6, urging protesters to go up the Rotunda steps and into the Capitol. “Give us liberty or give us death,” she shouted into a bullhorn. “We’re going inside! … This is our building!
“Mike Pence just [expletive] us over … I’ll get arrested, too, and I don’t care,” she said. “I need people to be with me,” she said through the bullhorn.
Paradise “saw the crowd push against the fences, and some people picked up police gear that police officers had dropped,” the FBI summary said. “People in the crowd opened the gates and the police retreated and formed a new line at steps leading to the Capitol. Using her megaphone, [Paradise] shouted, ‘Let’s go!’”
When the crowd made it up the east steps, Paradise was captured on video in front of the towering Columbus Doors, in the vicinity of men who attacked Capitol Police with streams of pepper spray.
Paradise told the FBI agents that when she saw a flash-bang go off near the door and people started to back up, she then “used her megaphone and shouted to the crowd to keep going forward and hold the line.”
Paradise also described what she called the “battle for the door.” Standing about 15 feet from the Columbus Doors, Paradise led the crowd in chanting, “We backed you, now you back us.” She also used her bullhorn to shout, “Who’s your president?,” “We chose Trump,” and, “We don’t retreat!”
She also shouted through the bullhorn: “Take their shields!”
“Pepper spray was being deployed by the police and by people in the crowd,” the FBI summary said. “Some of the spray struck [Paradise] in the face and caused a burning sensation.
“The doors opened and people were pushing against one another, moving forward,” the document said. “The crowd surged past the door and entered the Rotunda. [Paradise] could not resist the force of the crowd and was carried along into the Capitol.”
Paradise could be heard inside the foyer and Great Rotunda chanting “treason” and other phrases, according to video footage shot by a French news crew.
Met Defendant at Washington Monument
Before Trump’s speech at the Ellipse, Paradise went to the Washington Monument with a friend named Chantelle, an actress from California, the FBI document said.
Paradise noticed “a man under 6 foot tall, in his 40s or 50s, wearing camouflage and a dark backpack, say, ‘We are going to storm the Capitol and get inside the Capitol,’” the FBI document stated.
After watching Trump’s speech with Christie, Paradise followed crowds to the U.S. Capitol.
She told FBI agents that she “found it odd that the police never issued a warning to the crowd to disperse,” the document stated. “Based on the lack of police response, [Paradise] thought the police may have been working with the crowd.”
Paradise was one of numerous protesters who used a bullhorn to address the growing crowd on the east front.
She stood within feet of Pastor William Dunfee of the Ohio-based Salt and Light Brigade, who also urged people to enter the Capitol. “We are taking our house!” Dunfee said to cheers from the crowd.
As Dunfee tried to get the crowd’s attention by saying, “Here’s the thing,” Paradise said to those around her, “You guys better [expletive] join us is the thing,” according to livestream video filmed by podcaster Samuel DiGangi.
According to FBI records and open-source videos, Paradise participated with the Beverly Hills Patriots in several demonstrations protesting COVID mask mandates and lockdowns. She said she met Henry “Enrique” Tarrio, then chairman of the Proud Boys, at a rally in Hollywood.
Paradise told FBI agents she saw several members of the Beverly Hills Patriots in Washington on Jan. 6.
Paradise was invited to attend the Million MAGA March in Washington on Dec. 12, 2020. Except for food, expenses for that trip were paid by a Beverly Hills Patriots member named Katie, the FBI summary said. Paradise told agents she believed the trip was financed by “Silicon Valley executives.”
In late December 2020 and early January 2021, Paradise decided to attend Trump’s Jan. 6 speech because “the president had asked her, as a supporter, to be there,” the FBI summary said.
Paradise estimated she spent an hour inside the Capitol on Jan. 6 and entered three offices, the FBI document said. She was seen on video rifling through a credenza in Pelosi’s office, looking for memorabilia. “She decided it would be a good souvenir, and she took the baseball from the dish,” the FBI report said.
Paradise was eventually pushed out of the Capitol by police. She heard a man later identified as the QAnon Shaman, Jacob Chansley, telling the crowd that Trump wanted people to leave the Capitol and go home.
She “decided to leave the Capitol grounds and stop protesting because the president had asked his supporters to stop and go home,” the FBI report said. Paradise “was not worried she would get in trouble for entering the Capitol. She did not think she had committed a crime because she had been following the president’s orders.”
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