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Capitol rioter who declared 'civil war' on Jan. 6 sentenced to prison

Mariposa Castro told the judge that “dark energy forces” had “sucked” her in during the riot.
Pro-Trump supporters storm the U.S. Capitol following a rally with President Donald Trump on Jan. 6, 2021.
Supporters of then-President Donald Trump storm the U.S. Capitol following a rally with the president on Jan. 6, 2021.Samuel Corum / Getty Images file

WASHINGTON — A Donald Trump supporter who entered the U.S. Capitol through a broken window and declared "this is war" on Jan. 6 was sentenced to 45 days behind bars on Wednesday.

Mariposa Castro, also known as Imelda Acosta, went live on Facebook on Jan. 6 when she was at the western front of the Capitol, where some of the most violent attacks on law enforcement during the Capitol siege took place. While atop the inauguration platform, she also entered the Capitol building.

U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton sentenced Castro on Wednesday morning, saying she appeared "gleeful" and "happy" about what was happening on Jan. 6. He also assessed a $5,000 fine, saying the attack of Jan. 6 "totally undermined" the peaceful transfer of power.

“I’ve been reading a couple books about how civil war starts, and so much of history is repeating itself in our country,” Walton said. “I love this country, this country has been good to me, and to see what people are trying to do to this country... is just very concerning.”

"I don't glorify my actions," a tearful Castro told the judge. "I got caught up on the energy, and if I could go back and change things over, I definitely would have brought more peace."

Walton told Castro that she "seemed to be all in" on the battle on Jan. 6. Castro claimed that "dark energy forces" had "sucked" her in during the U.S. Capitol attack.

Elita Amato, Castro's attorney, told the judge that her client "made a bad mistake" by deciding to go to the Capitol, and "got caught up in everything" when she was at the riot. "She should have left," Amato said. "She had a lapse of judgement, she really did."

When she pleaded guilty in November, Castro admitted that she recorded herself climbing into the Capitol building on Jan. 6.

Mariposa Castro, also known as Imelda Acosta.
Mariposa Castro, also known as Imelda Acosta.Office of Elita C. Amato, Esq.

"I'm going in. I'm going in the Capitol," she said as she recorded herself entering the building, according to the statement of offense Castro agreed to. "We're in! We're inside the Capitol house. We got inside the Capitol."

Prosecutors sought 60 days imprisonment in Castro's case, arguing that she "eagerly joined the Jan. 6, 2021 assault on the United States Capitol" and "exulted at the rioters’ success" by echoing the words of the former president as she was forced out of the Capitol.

"War just started. It’s just the beginning. As Trump says, ‘the best is yet to come,’" Castro said in one video, according to the memo. "It was so ugly. It got ugly in there. It got really ugly. I’m literally by myself. They told me not to be on my own, to find a crowd. And I’m by myself. That just shows how brave I am. If I can do this, you guys can do this."

"It’s a civil war," Castro said in another livestream that evening after she and others in the crowd were driven from the Capitol by law enforcement. "We're coming. ... This is war."

Castro's attorney wrote in a memo ahead of her sentencing that back in 2006, Castro and her husband "almost got hit by a golf ball" hit by Trump in Pebble Beach. An "amicable conversation" with Trump followed, they wrote, which "gave her a positive image of him and she supported him during his run for president." The lawyer said Castro "got caught up in the moment" on Jan. 6 and "had a lapse of judgement and said things that were uncharacteristic of her."

Mariposa Castro, also known as Imelda Acosta.
Mariposa Castro, also known as Imelda Acosta.Office of Elita C. Amato

Castro's attorney included images of her waving a "thin blue line" flag when she was dressed up as a police officer, and images of her dressed as a butterfly.

"Ms. Acosta, usually a quiet, gentle soul started getting involved in rallies in her community to support police officers, firefighters and the military during President Trump’s run for election," her attorney wrote. "The only explanation for her being there is her support of former President Trump, her curiosity, the intention to provide a live stream of what she saw, and her then having gotten caught up in the moment."

Castro's attorney, who was seeking probation for her, wrote that she and her husband "had to move from California due to the loss of employment and income," and she is "now embarking on a new life which she hopes will return her back to one of peace and tranquility in which she can give back to others."

The FBI has arrested more than 740 people in connection with the Jan. 6 attack, and there are hundreds more cases in the works. The total number of potential Jan. 6 defendants who either unlawfully entered the building on Jan. 6 or engaged in the assault of law enforcement officers or other chargeable conduct outside the building is believed to be more than 2,500.