Jan. 6 rioter casts vote for Joe Biden in South Carolina

U.S. Capitol riot defendant Pam Hemphill posted a video on Saturday announcing her vote for President Joe Biden in South Carolina’s Democratic primary.

Hemphill, who served two months in prison in 2022 as part of a plea agreement for her actions during the January 6, 2021, Capitol riot, stressed the importance of voting in her video posted to X, formerly Twitter.

A native of Boise, Idaho, and now a resident of Summerville, South Carolina, Hemphill voted in her new state’s “First in the Nation” Democratic primary on Saturday. Biden is expected to win big against Representative Dean Phillips of Minnesota and Marianne Williamson, a progressive author and spiritual leader.

“If we could just do our part. Don’t think your voice doesn’t count. And your vote counts very much. What you have to say, and how you vote, will count,” Hemphill, 70, said, who closed the video by saying, “God Bless You. God Bless America. And God Bless Joseph Biden.”

Newsweek reached out to Hemphill via text message on Saturday afternoon.

On January 6, a group of Donald Trump supporters violently protested the 2020 presidential election results at the legislative building in an alleged effort to block Congress from certifying then President-elect Biden’s Electoral College victory. Critics say the rioters were motivated by Trump’s claims of widespread voter fraud, which have not been backed up by substantial evidence.

More than 1,200 individuals—including Trump himself—have been charged by the Department of Justice (DOJ) for their alleged involvement in the riot in the years that followed, with many already convicted and serving sentences. Trump, the frontrunner in the 2024 GOP presidential primary, has maintained his innocence.

Five people died within 36 hours of the Capitol riot. There were also hundreds of injuries that day, including 174 police officers defending the Capitol. Four officers who responded to the attack reportedly died by suicide within seven months.

Hemphill, a cancer survivor with no previous criminal history, was sentenced in July 2022 for breaching the Capitol. According to reports, she pushed through police lines as the crowd outside grew violent. Hemphill also encouraged rioters to push their way inside and was later seen inside the Rotunda. Prosecutors said when police offered to help her, Hemphill exaggerated her injuries in an effort to distract their efforts.

January 6 riots
Trump supporters clash with police and security forces as they push barricades to storm the US Capitol in Washington D.C on January 6, 2021. Demonstrators breeched security and entered the Capitol as Congress debated the…

AFP/Getty Images

The judge also sentenced Hemphill to three years of probation and ordered her to pay $500 in restitution for damages to the Capitol, which reportedly sustained $2.7 million in damages.

Since her release from federal prison in Dublin, California, Hemphill has made multiple appearances on cable news networks, renouncing Trump and his Make America Great Again (MAGA) movement.

Hemphill also posts to her 22,000 X followers about Project 2025, a coalition effort led by the Heritage Foundation, an influential conservative think tank.

The project has a nearly 1,000-page handbook that lays out a plan for Americans to dismantle the federal government’s “deep state” and replace it with a vision that furthers Trump’s agenda and policies.

Hemphill said she believes Trump is a “pawn” to the Project 2025 efforts.

“They’re using Trump because he’s the chaos junkie to bring about their plan,” she said in Saturday’s video. “He’s a pawn to them.”

Newsweek reached out to Project 2025 via email on Saturday night for additional comments.