A west suburban woman was sentenced to two weeks in federal jail Thursday for illegally entering the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 riot before texting with a friend the next day who allegedly told her, "Don't be sad. Be Prepared. We are all (expletive)."
Leticia Ferreira, 33, a Brazilian national who lives in Indian Head Park, was the second defendant from the Chicago area so far to receive a sentence of at least some incarceration for participating in the events in the nation's capital that day.
In addition to 14 days in custody, U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan in Washington gave Ferreira three years of probation and ordered her to perform 60 hours of community service and pay $500 in restitution, according to the U.S. attorney's office.
Ferreira pleaded guilty earlier this year to a misdemeanor count of picketing or parading in a restricted government building.
She was seen on surveillance footage from Jan. 6, 2021, entering the Capitol with the mob dressed in a camouflage-colored jacket and a red beanie bearing then-President Donald Trump's name, court records show. The security videos showed Ferreira made her way to the Capitol Crypt, where she was present "when excited rioters screamed 'Our House' and 'Stop the Steal,'" according to prosecutors.
Rioters near Ferreira physically rushed U.S. Capitol Police officers who tried to prevent further advance, but she did not appear to have participated in any assault on officers, prosecutors said.
The day after the riot, Ferreira and her friend, who was also in the crowd that day, exchanged worried text messages about the fallout, according to the charges filed against Ferreira last year. Ferreira texted that she'd been walking with a man and his two sons and never noticed in the moment that people were breaking through barriers and fighting with the police.
"I'm so irresponsible," Ferreira texted. "Yesterday it felt amazing."
When Ferreira asked if the friend thought "they will go after all the people walking in the Capitol area," the friend allegedly responded, "Don't be sad. Be prepared. We are all (expletive)."
Ferriera's attorneys asked for probation, saying in a recent filing that she has no criminal history and works for a Chicago-area company as a sustainability project engineer, focusing on "saving the planet through recycling."
The filing said Ferreira went to Washington that day to hear Trump speak and visit monuments and other attractions, not join any protest.
"She in no way condones or justifies the violence that occurred on January 6th," the defense filing said. "She merely wanted to watch a Donald Trump's rally live, then go sightseeing in Washington, D.C."
Nationwide, more than 870 people have been arrested in all 50 states and the District of Columbia on charges stemming from the Capitol breach, according to the U.S. Justice Department.
Ferreira was among 32 Illinoisans charged so far in the Capitol breach. The ongoing investigation has been described by prosecutors as the largest criminal investigation in the country's history.
Last year, Bradley Rukstales, a former Inverness tech executive, was the first from the Chicago area to receive prison time when he was sentenced to 30 days behind bars.