California salon owner charged in Capitol riot lingers in L.A. jail

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A Beverly Hills salon owner charged for her involvement in the Capitol riot apparently fell through the cracks following her arrest in Los Angeles last month and has lingered in jail there for more than two weeks despite a judge’s order that she be promptly moved to Washington for further hearings, a prosecutor said Monday.

Gina Bisignano, 52, was arrested Jan. 19 on charges including interfering with police during civil disorder, obstruction of an official proceeding and aiding in the destruction of government property.

In social media posts and in interviews with media outlets, Bisignano boasted of her role in the Jan. 6 storming of the Capitol. Authorities say she entered the building twice and can be seen close to someone who broke a window of the historic building during the mayhem.

“This is 1776, and we the people will never give up. We will never let our country go to the globalists. George Soros, you can go to hell,” Bisignano shouted into a bullhorn as other protesters clashed with police, an FBI agent said in a court filing.

Bisignano appeared in federal court in Los Angeles the same day as her arrest last month. A federal magistrate judge there ordered her pretrial release over the objection of prosecutors and declined to stay the decision to allow an appeal.

Prosecutors quickly appealed and won an order from Chief U.S. District Court Judge Beryl Howell temporarily blocking the magistrate’s release order and instructing that Bisignano be transported to Washington for a hearing on the government’s appeal seeking to keep her behind bars.

However, Bisignano — owner of Gina’s Eyelashes and Skin Care — had already been released. When she returned to the L.A. courthouse the next day, she was arrested.

While Howell’s order called for Bisignano to be moved to Washington “forthwith,” that did not happen.

At a hearing Monday before Washington-based judge assigned to Bisignano’s case, Assistant U.S. Attorney Kimberly Paschall acknowledged the foul-up.

“We, the Department of Justice, through my counterpart in the Central District of California submitted the chief judge’s order order to stay and the transport order to the U.S. Marshals in California on Jan. 20. However, it appears they did not process that request until we reached out to them on Feb. 5 to glean what happened,” Paschall said.

As of Monday, a Bureau of Prisons inmate locator accessible on the web showed Bisignano still being held at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Los Angeles.

The new judge on the case, Carl Nichols, sounded concerned about the series of events.

“Has she been detained that whole time?” he asked.

Paschall said Bisignano has been in custody since Jan. 20.

Bisignano’s lawyer, Charles Peruto of Philadelphia, asked if his client could be released and allowed to travel to D.C. on her own, rather than go “from bus to bus to bus” in the custody of federal marshals.

Paschall said the government’s preference was that Bisignano remain in custody until the appeal of the magistrate’s release order is decided. That is now a matter for Nichols to take up.

Nichols said he would hold a virtual hearing on the detention and bail issue next Wednesday. Peruto said he would waive Bisignano’s right to attend that hearing. It was not immediately clear whether her transfer across the country will proceed or await the outcome of that session.

Howell has ordered about a half dozen Capitol riot defendants transported to Washington while prosecutors appeal a decision to release them. Amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, those moves have not always happened quickly.

On Friday, Howell ordered the government to report by Tuesday on the status of a mother and son from Tennessee — Lisa Eisenhart and Eric Munchel — charged in the Capitol riot. Attorneys complained last week that Eisenhart and Munchel had not yet arrived in Washington for further proceedings in their case.

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