Donna Bissey

Dona Sue Bissey

Updated story, 3:56 p.m.  A Greene County woman has received a 14-day prison sentence for her participation in the Jan. 6 insurrection.

Donna Bissey, 52, of Bloomfield must also pay a $500 fine and do 60 hours of community service, as ordered today by Judge Tanya Chutkan in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Bissey had pleaded guilty in July to a misdemeanor charge of parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building.

The judge said Bissey is allowed to turn herself in to the Bureau of Prisons so she can deal with medical emergencies currently faced by her husband and daughter.

At the recommendation of the federal probation office, she will be allowed to turn herself in to the bureau at the start of 2022. She must complete her community service by the end of 2022.

The prison sentence had not been requested by the government or Bissey’s defense attorney in sentencing memorandums provided to the court. The government requested three years of probation, a $500 fine and 40 hours of community service as the sentence.

But Judge Chutkan said the case was not appropriate for the probation system, which she called “overworked and overstretched” due to the 600 criminal cases associated with the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

“I think it is a waste of resources to have her in probation,” Chutkan said, adding that the 14-days in prison is sufficient to promote public deterrence to future insurrections.

Bissey’s plea agreement had dropped three other charges — entering and remaining in a restricted building, disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building, and violent entry and disorderly conduct in a Capitol building.

Her Bloomfield friend Anna Morgan-Lloyd, who joined Bissey on their trip to Washington was arrested on the same charges.

Morgan-Lloyd pleaded guilty on June 23 to the misdemeanor charge of parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building in violation of federal law. As the first defendant from the Jan. 6 insurrection to be sentenced, Morgan-Lloyd received three years on supervised probation and was fined $500.

The federal investigation determined Bissey, Morgan-Lloyd and their friends were inside the Capitol about 10 minutes that day. They posted photos to social media showing themselves inside a Capitol hallway.

Bissey was arrested Feb. 24 in Greene County after she was recognized because of her social media posts showing her inside the Capitol building among the crowd that forced entry during a joint session of Congress.

During the sentencing, the judge also noted the many letters of support for Bissey sent to the court and Bissey's lack of criminal history. But Chutkan also noted that Bissey expressed no concern for the government officials and employees impacted by the insurrection.

“We have heard a lot about the fact that she has suffered repercussions from her actions,” the judge said. “But we haven’t heard anything [from Bissey] about the people who were inside doing their job, or the law enforcement who were outside fighting to keep the Capitol safe. She has been described as a patriot, but the people inside the Capitol trying to do their job were patriots, also.”

Defense attorney Cara Halverson stated Bissey was remorseful for her participation in the insurrection soon after seeing media reports of the day’s event, but Chutkan rejected that claim. The judge said Bissey continued to make social media posts supporting her actions in the days after she returned home, and did not express remorse until Jan. 22, when she was recognized while trying to get a gun permit.

“If there had been no public outcry, she would still be proud of her participation,” Chutkan said, adding that it was the consequences she has suffered — including economic loss and public criticism — that have made her remorseful.

The judge also agreed with Assistant U.S. Attorney Joshua Rothstein that Bissey continues to subscribe to “bizarre conspiracy theories” about COVID-19 and remains unvaccinated and an anti-masker despite her own compromised immune system and the poor health of her husband.

But that is Bissey’s right, the judge said.

The federal courts are handling more than 600 criminal cases filed against defendants in connection with the Jan. 6 insurrection. Many of those cases will be resolved through plea agreements.

Lisa Trigg can be reached at 812-231-4254 or at lisa.trigg@tribstar.com. Follow her on Twitter at TribStarLisa.

Original story, 2:58 p.m.

A Greene County woman has received a 14-day prison sentence for her participation in the Jan. 6 insurrection.

Donna Bissey, 52, of Bloomfield must also pay a $500 fine and do 60 hours of community service, as ordered today by Judge Tanya Chutkan in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Bissey had pleaded guilty in July to a misdemeanor charge of parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building.

The judge said Bissey is allowed to turn herself in to the Bureau of Prisons so she can deal with medical emergencies currently faced by her husband and daughter.

At the recommendation of federal probation, she will be allowed to turn herself in to the bureau at the start of 2022. She must complete her community service by the end of 2022.

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Lisa Trigg has been a reporter at the Tribune-Star since 2009. With more than 30 years of newspaper experience, she now covers general news with a focus on crime and courts.