October 5, 2023

Two Orange County ladies pleaded responsible to their involvement within the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, in response to court docket paperwork.

Michelle Estey, a 54-year-old Newport Seaside resident, and 57-year-old Tustin resident Melanie Belger had been arrested in Orange in September of 2022, in response to the U.S. Division of Justice.

They had been arraigned on Tuesday, Aug. 22, and every pleaded responsible in U.S. District Courtroom for the District of Columbia to at least one depend of parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol constructing. Courtroom information point out they pleaded responsible as a part of a plea settlement. They initially confronted three extra counts: coming into a restricted constructing, disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted constructing and disorderly conduct in a Capitol constructing.

Belger and Estey’s authorized groups haven’t but agreed to a certain amount of jail time or a monetary penalty as a part of their plea settlement. The utmost sentence they might face is as much as six months in jail and a high-quality as heavy as $5,000.

Different defendants in circumstances associated to the occasions of Jan. 6 have obtained mild sentences or supervised releases.

In keeping with an FBI affidavit filed Sept. 16, 2022, Estey was turned in after she revealed her actions on the Capitol to a bunch of pals at dinner. Belger was turned in with proof of Fb posts during which she admitted to being contained in the Capitol.

The FBI particular agent investigating the case discovered that Estey and Belger had been proven in a YouTube video titled “D.C. Burning — Jan. 6 Riots” that detailed a lot of the chaos that day. Estey’s identification was confirmed by a longtime good friend, and Belger’s was confirmed by a coworker.

The FBI agent stated Estey and Belger needed to climb by way of a damaged window to get inside a room within the Capitol with different rioters.

Estey and Belger are due again in court docket for a sentencing listening to on Dec. 4.