Politics - News Analysis

Jan 6 Rioter Who Claims She Was ‘Sucked In’ to the Capitol Is Arrested, ‘I’m Not Breaking Anything! This Is Our House!’

She looks like somebody's grandma.

Her name is both inviting, like a lady who might have fresh-baked cookies when you visit, and foreboding, like when you know all three of an assassin’s names. Sandy Lee Hodges is the latest hostage criminal caught up in the January 6 sweep.

And Sandy has a sob story. I mean, they all do, but the rest of these folks didn’t show up to riot in a white turtleneck sweater.

Sandy wandered the halls of the Capitol, weaving in and out of hidden offices, holding her bottle of Coke for nearly an hour. She eventually ended up outside, harassing the police.

Hodges was arrested on four charges: Entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds; disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building; disorderly conduct in a Capitol building; and parading, picketing, or demonstrating in a Capitol building.

Her story is a comedy of errors.

She was only caught because she left her hotel key card at the Capitol during the fracas. The FBI came to her home in April of 2023 to interview her. She admitted to them that she traveled with a friend she had met online just a few days earlier to Washington for Trump’s speech.

But poor Sandy must have had a few extra glasses of wine, because she slept through the speech. When she left the hotel, she told the FBI, she ran into “a large group of people who told her the speech was over and everyone was headed to the U.S. Capitol building to protest.”

Sandy, dear Sandy, was “sucked into” the building.

She was only inside for a few moments, she told them, and watched “someone rip something off a wall” before coming to her senses and deciding to leave.

Sandra “Sandy” Lee Hodges inside the Capitol.

However, that’s where Sandy’s statement and facts caught on film diverge.

From the Law & Crime blog:

Surveillance footage from the Capitol shows Hodges trawling the grounds and being “close to a line of barricades defended by officers of the Metropolitan Police Department,” the FBI said. Chemical irritants were going off as police and rioters clashed and she was in the area yelling out “Freedom!” toward the officers, prosecutors say.

As she moved with the mob, prosecutors allege that “from her vantage point, Hodges was in position to see violence between rioters and law enforcement.”

Specifically, she was in position to see rioters wrestling over barricades and police deploying crowd control methods against aggressive rioters. She is also accused of remaining in the West Plaza even as police lines collapsed. As officers worked at restoring order, she moved up to the Upper West Terrace and then she was seen on surveillance footage walking to the Senate side of the building near the Senate Wing door.

Rioters, the FBI said, had breached it a full 5 minutes before she walked in and then began “disappearing into the crowd.”

More video showed Hodges banging on tables briefly as the crowd chanted and then as it made it out to a window. [Anthime] Gionet (the internet troll known as “Baked Alaska”), the FBI said, was heard telling people to break anything and Hodges replied: “I’m not going to break anything. This is our house.”

Hodges also entered the Crypt, according to surveillance footage and was seen chanting “Whose House? Our House!” as she clutched a Coca-Cola. By 3:32 p.m. and as police were still trying to regain control of the entire building, footage shows Hodges heading toward an exit as officers direct the crowd out. In total, the FBI says she spent approximately 40 minutes inside the building but she didn’t go immediately, heading to restricted grounds on the Capitol steps where she appeared to be yelling in the crowd further.

Sandy Lee Hodges, you’re a terrible liar. But you make for an entertaining story.

meet the author

Andrew is a dark blue speck in deep red Central Washington, writing with the conviction of 18 years at the keyboard and too much politics to even stand. When not furiously stabbing the keys on breaking news stories, he writes poetry, prose, essays, haiku, lectures, stories for grief therapy, wedding ceremonies, detailed instructions on making doughnuts from canned biscuit dough (more sugar than cinnamon — duh), and equations to determine the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow. A girlfriend, a dog, two cats, and two birds round out the equation, and in his spare time, Drewbear likes to imagine what it must be like to have spare time.


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