First Capitol rioter to be convicted tells judge she learned from "Schindler's List," avoids jail

"What does that matter here?" says CNN host John Berman

By Brenley Goertzen
Published June 23, 2021 6:13PM (EDT)
Protesters gather outside the U.S. Capitol Building on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC. Pro-Trump protesters entered the U.S. Capitol building after mass demonstrations in the nation's capital. (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)
Protesters gather outside the U.S. Capitol Building on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC. Pro-Trump protesters entered the U.S. Capitol building after mass demonstrations in the nation's capital. (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

The first person convicted for participating in the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol was sentenced on Wednesday. Anna Morgan-Lloyd, a 49-year-old Indiana grandmother, avoided jail time after she told the judge that she's learned from watching films like "Schindler's List" that her involvement in the attempted coup was wrong. 

Morgan-Lloyd's attorney Heather Shaner appeared on CNN's "New Day" on Wednesday to further explain that her client now has a library card and regrets her participation in the attack in Washington D.C. But CNN host John Berman pressed attorney Shaner to explain how Morgan-Lloyd's participation and education from watching movies and reading books has absolved her client of her alleged crimes.

"What does that matter here?" Berman asked.

"What matters is from agreeing and being interested in getting a library card, reading books, taking civics courses online," Shaner responded. "Anna acknowledged both to herself and to the court that there was a lot to learn about her individual responsibility and the relationship between a citizen's rights and a citizen's responsibility."

"Was she suggesting that because she didn't know enough about the Holocaust, that's why she stormed the Capitol?" Berman pressed.

"No, of course not," Shaner said. "I presented Anna and a number of my clients with a book list and they could choose to read."

Morgan-Lloyd was pictured inside the Capitol on Jan 6, and according to a federal complaint visited the Capitol with her friend Dona Bissey, who has also been federally charged. Morgan-Lloyd even posted on Facebook, "I'm here. Best day ever. We stormed the capital building me and Dona Bissey were in the first 50 people in."

"What does she believe is the truth about what happened at this point?" Berman asked.

Shaner explained that Morgan-Lloyd believes she was "uninformed and misinformed" and now understands that "her presence at the Capitol possibly empowered others who had more intentional ideas about what they were doing to behave violently and that was never her intention."

Prosecutors, however, did not ask for incarceration, noting that Morgan-Lloyd already spent an "eye-opening" two days in jail. She was instead sentenced to three years of probation. She must also perform 40 hours of community service and pay $500 in restitution. 


Brenley Goertzen

Brenley Goertzen is an editorial intern at Salon and a graduate student at New York University's Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute. Follow her on Twitter @BrenleyGoertzen

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Capitol Riot Cnn Schindler's List