Former Rubio intern indicted on Jan. 6 charges

Former Rubio intern indicted on Jan. 6 charges

A South Florida woman who reportedly interned for Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) was indicted this month for her alleged involvement in the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol insurrection.

A federal grand jury indicted Barbara Balmaseda, 23, on charges related to storming and entering the Capitol on Jan. 6 alongside at least one Proud Boys member, according to a court filing posted to the docket May 22.

Balmaseda, from Miami Lakes, has years-long ties to the Florida Republican Party and interned for Rubio from 2018 to 2019, the Miami New Times reported. The Hill reached out to Rubio’s office for comment.

Federal investigators said Balmaseda chatted with Gabriel Garcia, a member of the Proud Boys, in the weeks leading up to the insurrection, in which she expressed the belief the 2020 election was stolen from former President Trump. The two coordinated travel arrangements to Washington, D.C., for days surrounding Jan. 6, authorities said.

Garcia was found guilty last year of two felony charges in connection with the Capitol breach. He is slated to be sentenced in September.

Messages obtained by authorities showed pictures of Balmaseda wearing a “Trump 2020” hat with Garcia and others in D.C. on Jan. 6., while phone records showed her cellphone was in the area of the Capitol around the time of the riots, per court documents.

While in D.C. on Jan. 6, Balmaseda was photographed with Garcia in the Black Lives Matter Plaza before she walked in a large crowd toward the Capitol, federal investigators said. She and Garcia allegedly climbed on equipment staged near the Capitol before entering the building as the crowd chanted “Our House!” and “USA.”

After leaving the inside of the Capitol, Balmaseda continued to take photographs of herself on the Capitol grounds and later sent memes about the insurrection, court filings stated.

She was arrested in December in Miami Lakes. She faces five criminal counts including corrupt obstruction of an official proceeding, knowingly entering and remaining in a restricted building, and engaging in disorderly conduct in a Capitol with the intent to impede a session of Congress.

In a statement to The Hill, Balmaseda’s attorney Nayib Hassan said, “We look forward to presenting a vigorous defense on her behalf as we have entered a plea of not guilty.”

“It is our position that the Government is overzealously presenting charges against individuals that have very little to no connections to what occurred on January 6, 2021 in Washington DC,” Hassan continued.

Hassan noted Balmaseda’s team is also awaiting the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on a challenge to an obstruction law used against several Jan. 6 rioters and Trump, as it “may have a direct impact” on Balmaseda’s case.

The Miami New Times reported Balmaseda was previously listed as the director at-large for the Miami Young Republicans and served as regional director for Young Conservatives for Carbon Dividends, which describes itself as an advocacy organization in support of “the pro-growth, pro-innovation Baker-Shultz Carbon Dividends Plan.”

More than 1,420 people in nearly all 50 states have been charged for their alleged involvement in the Jan. 6 riot.

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