May 28, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Former Miami Young Republicans director indicted on Jan. 6 charges

Trumps supporters flock to the U.S. Capitol building on Jan. 6, 2021.

Trump supporters at the U.S. Capitol building on Jan. 6, 2021. Photo: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

A South Florida woman with ties to leading Republicans and the state GOP has been formally indicted on Jan. 6 charges, it emerged on Tuesday.

The big picture: Barbara Balmaseda, 23, whom the Miami New Times reports previously interned for Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and worked as a campaign organizer for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' 2018 gubernatorial campaign, was arrested last December.

A woman (yellow circle) identified as Barbara Balmaseda in the U.S. Capital with Jan. 6 rioters.
A screenshot from CCTV of a woman (yellow circle) whom prosecutors identify as Barbara Balmaseda and a man they say is Gabriel Garcia (red circle) with the mob inside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
  • A jury has now indicted Balmaseda, who once served as the director-at-large of the Miami Young Republicans, on five charges, per a docket dated May 22.
  • These included corrupt obstruction of an official proceeding, knowingly entering and remaining in a restricted building and engaging in disorderly conduct in a Capitol building with the intent to impede a session of Congress.

What they're saying: "We look forward to presenting a vigorous defense on her behalf as we have entered a plea of not guilty," said Balmaseda's attorney, Nayib Hassan, in an emailed statement to the Miami New Times.

  • Representatives for Rubio, DeSantis and the Miami Young Republicans did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment.

Details: Balmaseda, of Miami Lakes, is accused of exchanging hundreds of messages in a group chat with members of the far-right Proud Boys, several of which repeated the baseless claim that the 2020 election was stolen from former President Trump.

  • Those in the group allegedly included former Proud Boys member Gabriel Garcia, who was convicted in November of felony charges related to the Capitol breach, according to a statement of facts.
  • Prosecutors allege they identified Balmaseda inside the Capitol with Garcia from security footage on Jan. 6, indicating that the pair "climbed on equipment that had been staged in preparation for the Presidential Inauguration" before entering the Capitol building.
  • It's alleged that Balmaseda messaged Garcia two days later, saying: "Hey! Good morning! You left a hat and a gas mask in Adolfo's car, I also have your sunglasses in my purse and you have my taser."

What we're watching: Hassan told the Miami New Times they're "patiently awaiting" the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in an appeal the justices have agreed to hear brought by a man charged with obstructing an official proceeding for participating in the Jan. 6 riot as it "may have a direct impact on Mrs. Balmaseda's case."

Context: The appeal before the high court has implications for not only Balmaseda's case, but also for Trump, who received the same charge in his 2020 election interference case, and for hundreds of other Jan. 6 defendants who faced this charge.

Go deeper: "The Sixth" documentary examines Jan. 6 through D.C. locals' eyes

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