WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal judge ruled Wednesday that a lawyer for a Jan. 6 defendant will not be allowed to question witnesses about whether «the woman in the pink beret» on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6 was a government agent.

At a pretrial hearing on Wednesday, Chief US District Judge John D. Bates, sometimes cracking a smile at the situation, said there was «nothing» to support claims that «the girl in the pink beret» was «a government agent of some kind,» calling it pure «speculation,» especially since federal prosecutors charged the woman just days after NBC News reported that her ex identified her after her appearance. in a viral FBI tweet.

Next week, Bates will oversee the court trial of Darrell Neely, whose lawyer has raised the specter of the girl in the pink beret in court documents. Neely is accused of stealing various items during the attack on the Capitol, but claims that he was acting as a journalist.

NBC News first reported on May 6 that Jennifer Inzunza Vargas Geller had been identified to the FBI by an ex after he saw photos of her in a viral tweet on his friend’s phone while they waited in line at a convenience store. Joann Fabric. Vargas Geller was indicted on May 8, just 11 days after the viral cheep from the FBI’s Washington Field Office, which racked up more than seven million views as social media users joked that the woman looked like a character from a Wes Anderson movie and gave her nicknames like «Insurrection Eva Braun,» «Fascist Matilda» and «Emily in-carceration», a play on «Emily In Paris».

DOJ identified Vargas Geller in this photo outside the Capitol on January 6, 2021.US District Court for Washington, DC

Kira West, Neely’s lawyer, had previously asked the government for more information about the woman known to detectives online as #PinkBeret, saying the woman «had been making a fashion statement all over the Capitol grounds” and had lured his client into the building.

In court on Wednesday, West pointed out that #PinkBeret had caused a «flurry of fuss» on social media. Bates quipped in response to West: «Some of which was caused by you.»

West admitted that there was «just speculation» that #PinkBeret was a government operative, but said he couldn’t rule it out entirely. «Government snitches get accused all the time,» West said.

Jennifer Vargas outside the Capitol on January 6, 2021.
Vargas Geller outside the Capitol on January 6, 2021.US District Court for Washington, DC

Now that «we know who she is,» West said, she is a «critical and critical fact witness» to Neely’s defense. West said Neely’s team would try to get her on the stand, though Vargas Geller could invoke her right not to testify, and West said it’s unclear to him exactly where Vargas Geller is located.

«I don’t know what the holdup is and why the government didn’t arrest her,» West said. «I’m going to look for her, I’m going to try to find her.»

in a presentation this week, federal prosecutors wrote that «Ms. Vargas Geller was charged because she committed a crime» and that «there is not a shred of evidence» to support «repeated claims, without ties to the facts, that Ms. Vargas Geller is a member of law enforcement.»

Vargas Geller did not respond to a message from NBC News.

Bates said he had «seen nothing» and «heard nothing» to support the position that the «Pink Beret woman» was a government agent, and said West could try to call her as a witness, but could not ask other witnesses about her. whether Vargas Geller was working at the behest of the police. He also said there would be no basis for presenting evidence at Neely’s trial that concerned only Vargas Geller’s conduct.

Jennifer Vargas outside the Capitol on January 6, 2021.
Vargas Geller outside the Capitol on January 6, 2021.US District Court for Washington, DC

Neely has been accused on six counts, and the government charges him with stealing a U.S. Capitol Police patch, badge, name tag, and baseball cap. He has been in pretrial detention since violating his conditions of release last year and will have his trial before Bates next week.

Nearly 1,000 defendants have been charged in connection with the January 6 attack on the US Capitol, and hundreds of additional rioters have been identified and yet to be charged.

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