(CNN) — Federal prosecutors said in an appeal filed Wednesday that the FBI found smashed cell phones and “go bags” at the home of the woman who directed fellow Capitol rioters with a megaphone during the attack.
The Justice Department detailed the investigators’ findings in a new request to keep the woman, Rachel Powell, in jail before her trial. A federal magistrate judge in Pennsylvania previously decided to release her shortly after her arrest, but federal prosecutors have appealed that ruling to the federal district court for the District of Columbia where Powell is being prosecuted, saying that she is both a “danger to the community and a flight risk.”
Powell, of Sandy Lake, Pennsylvania, has been charged with obstruction, depredation of government property, entering a restricted building or grounds with a dangerous weapon, entering a restricted building or grounds, and violent entry or disorderly conduct. She admitted in an interview with the New Yorker that she was present at the riot, and used a megaphone to direct rioters trying to reenter the Capitol building.
When agents searched Powell’s home, prosecutors write that they found, “several smashed cell phones,” in addition to “firearms paraphernalia.” They also found what prosecutors said, “law enforcement described as ‘go bags’ because they appeared to be prepacked for a forthcoming departure.”
Prosecutors submitted photos to the court, which were obtained by CNN affiliate WTAE, that showed what agents found at the home. The photos show what prosecutors say they found inside the “go bags,” including throwing knives and survival gear like tape, lighters and tarps.
Investigators also say they found what appear to be used shooting targets with messages written on them: “Guns don’t kill people. I do.”; “Better shot than my ex.”; “Prayer is a good way to meet the lord but trespassing is faster!”
On February 4, CNN and other outlets reported that the FBI had searched her house, but were still searching for Powell. Prosecutors acknowledge that, saying it took 11 hours to detain her despite them informing Powell’s defense attorney, Michael Engle, at 7 a.m. on February 4 of the warrants.
“Midday, (Engle) told law enforcement that the defendant was near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, but would not give a precise location,” prosecutors said.
When she was arrested, Powell did not have her cell phone; Engle, prosecutors say, said at the detention hearing that, “she may have been instructed not to bring it with her.”
CNN reached out to Engle about the appeal but has not yet received a response.
Prosecutors note that Powell is a mother of eight; two of them are adults and she shares custody of the remaining six — ages 4 to 17 — with her ex-husband. They allege that Powell, “left the children at home, unattended,” on January 6.
On January 30, the day before the New Yorker article was published, prosecutors say she “dropped off the children at her ex-husband’s house with no explanation and no indication of when she would return.” Prosecutors say that the ex-husband is seeking full custody of the children.
US Attorney’s spokesperson Margaret Philbin confirmed to CNN that Powell remains detained ahead of a court hearing today in the District of Columbia, where a judge will decide on the prosecutor’s appeal.
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