Federal judge blocks release of Capitol riot suspect Lisa Eisenhart

Lisa Eisenhart
Posted at 12:22 PM, Jan 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-26 15:12:58-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The chief judge for the U.S. District Court in Washington D.C. has blocked the release of Capitol riot suspect Lisa Eisenhart, one day after a federal magistrate ruled she could be released.

Eisenhart, one of the people arrested in connection to the deadly Capitol riot on January 6, appeared in court on Monday for a hearing to determine if she would be released prior to trial. Judge Chip Frensley of the U.S. District Court of the Middle District of Tennessee ruled that she be released from custody under the following conditions:

  • Home detention except for employment, school, religious services, etc.
  • Placed in custody of third-party custodian who will supervise her. (They spoke to this person, who knows Eisenhart, but did not identify them in court)
  • Can’t travel outside U.S. without court approval.
  • Can’t go to Washington D.C. unless she’s going to court or meeting with attorney
  • She’s not to possess any dangerous weapons

Though Judge Frensley ruled in her favor, he issued a stay for release until Tuesday at 5 p.m., meaning that was the soonest Eisenhart could go free. On Tuesday, the U.S. District Court in D.C. issued a stay of the order, saying Eisenhart is to remain in custody and will be transported to the District of Columbia for further proceedings.

She is charged with one count of conspiracy, knowingly entering or remaining in a restricted building or grounds without lawful authority and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.

The government asked that Eisenhart's remain in custody pending trial, saying she is a danger to the community and a serious flight risk. However, the judge said her “dangerousness” isn’t enough to deny her release. Evidence presented during the hearing suggests she did not “fight” during the riot.

Court documents say Eisenhart traveled with her son Eric Munchel from Nashville to Washington D.C. to attend a "Stop the Steal" rally held on January 6. Eisenhart and Munchel are accused of being a part of a large crowd that gathered outside of the Capitol during a joint session to certify the Electoral College votes that later forced their way inside the building.

On the day of the rally and subsequent riot, Eisenhart and Munchel spoke with a reporter for The Sunday Times.

In a memo asking the judge for Eisenhart's continued detention, prosecutors referenced several statements made by Eisenhart to the reporter.

"This country was founded on revolution. If they’re going to take every legitimate means from us, and we can’t even express ourselves on the internet, we won’t even be able to speak freely, what is America for? I’d rather die as a 57-year-old woman than live under oppression. I’d rather die and would rather fight," Eisenhart told the reporter.

Click here to read the court documents.

Last week at a similar hearing for Munchel, a federal magistrate ruled the Nashville man could be released on Monday. However, on Sunday the chief judge for the U.S. District Court in Washington D.C. blocked his release and ordered Munchel continued to be held and transported to D.C. for further proceedings.