Utah woman given prison time in plea bargain for role in 2021 Capitol riot

Jun 7, 2022, 6:16 PM | Updated: Jun 10, 2022, 6:20 am
Jan. 6 Capitol attack...
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 06: Protesters supporting U.S. President Donald Trump gather near the east front door of the U.S. Capitol after groups breached the building's security on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC. Pro-Trump protesters entered the U.S. Capitol building during demonstrations in the nation's capital. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
(Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON — A Utah woman from Kaysville was sentenced to spend 30 days behind bars after a guilty plea to her actions in the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

A judge handed down the sentence after Janet West Buhler pleaded guilty to one of five counts brought against her by the U.S. Department of Justice. She was sentenced last week to spend 30 days in jail, be on probation for 36 months and to pay $500 in restitution. She also was required to pay $10 to the U.S. District Court.

In exchange for admitting guilt to parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol Building, the following charges were dropped:

  • Knowingly entering restricted building grounds without lawful authority
  • Disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or ground
  • Entering or remaining in the Gallery of Congress
  • Disorderly conduct in a Capitol building

The violation carried a potential maximum sentence of six months, a fine of up to $5,000 and five years probation.

“The Defendant (Buhler) together with her son-in-law, Michael Lee Hardin, traveled by plane from Kaysville, Utah, to Washington, D.C., and, on January 6, 2021, at approximately 2:25 p.m., the Defendant and Hardin entered the U.S. Capitol Building,” court documents said. “The Defendant and Hardin entered the U.S. Capitol Building through the Senate Wing Door, then walked south and entered the Crypt.”

The documents also stated that Buhler and Hardin walked upstairs and stood outside the Rotunda and watched rioters violently break through the East Rotunda doors, manned by U.S. Capitol police officers.

“Defendant cheered and applauded when the rioters eventually broke through the East Rotunda Doors,” documents state. She and Hardin walked to the third floor of the U.S. Capitol and entered the Senate Gallery.

She told the court that she never should have made the trip to Washington D.C. and her decisions have become a defining moment in her life that she wished she could change.

“This was one of the worst decisions I’ve ever made in my life,” Buhler said.

She lost her job teaching at a Utah college, saying that the didn’t want to employ someone with low character, according to

Judge Colleen Dollar-Kotelly stated that Buhler participated in an insurrection to stop the 2020 election’s certification, calling it the “bedrock” of democracy. Five of the nine Utahns charged in connection with the Jan. 6 attack have pleaded guilty. Buhler was the first to be sentenced to prison time.

Hardin, a veteran Utah police officer was given a fine and probation in a plea arrangement for his part in the riot.

Click here for a full list of crimes prosecuted by the Department of Justice.

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Utah woman given prison time in plea bargain for role in 2021 Capitol riot