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| Crime |

Capitol Protester Jenna Ryan Faces More Charges, Still Seeking Donations for Defense

Rioters inside the Capitol on Jan. 6
Rioters inside the Capitol on Jan. 6
Brent Stirton/Getty Images
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North Texas real estate broker Jenna Ryan, one of at least 150 people facing criminal charges in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, is still online seeking donations to help cover the cost of her legal defense despite being booted off three online funding services and issuing a Twitter message saying she doesn’t need the money.

“I’m not a desperado over here; it’s not like I can’t make my own attorney’s fees,” she told the Observer earlier this week. “I will have to work extra hard to do so.”

Her defense attorneys might have to work a little extra, too. Earlier this month, the Justice Department filed two federal charges against her, and on Tuesday it filed two more: violent entry and disorderly conduct in a Capitol building and parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building, according to court documents.

FBI agents arrested Ryan and searched her Carrollton home on Jan. 15. Upon her release that evening, she asked President Donald Trump to grant her a pardon during an interview with CBS-DFW. He didn’t, although Ryan told the Observer in a phone interview Monday that she still supports him.

Despite dozens of comments from supporters on social media urging her to follow legal advice and remain silent, she can’t seem to get off Twitter, where she has promoted a series of fundraisers following her arrest.

Ryan announced her first fundraising scheme on Jan. 16 via the website Fundly in a since-deleted tweet. Within hours, a flurry of Twitter accounts tagged Fundly, demanding they shut down the account.

The account was closed within three days. Two days later, on Jan. 21, Ryan announced a second attempt.

“I am accepting donations to pay legal fees and losses due to my arrest and charges by the FBI for protesting at the US Capitol. Thank you for your support. Any amount helps,” Ryan tweeted along with a link to her PayPal account.

That same day, following a flurry of online outrage, PayPal shut down her account.

Ryan indicated she would not be stopped, suggesting she knew how to set up her own server. These tweets have also since been deleted.

On Jan. 23, Ryan announced a third fundraising attempt in another since-deleted tweet, this time on her own website, www.dotjenna.net, where she utilized software called Infusionsoft that is owned by Keap, a private marketing and sales company, to process donations. The website, hosted by GoDaddy, is still live, but her ability to collect donations through it is not.

When Keap was informed that Ryan was using the software on Jan. 25, a representative said, “Keap is taking appropriate actions regarding violations of its terms of service and acceptable use policy.” When asked if Ryan’s use of the platform was in violation of their terms and services, the representative simply said, “We have disabled the ability to accept donations via Keap.”

That same day, Ryan announced a fourth fundraiser in another deleted tweet, this time via the Christian fundraising website, GiveSendGo.

This is the same fundraising website used by another Texan charged for her participation in the Capitol rally, Jenny Cudd. It’s also come under fire for hosting fundraisers for Kyle Rittenhouse, the Illinois teenager charged with fatally shooting two people at a Black Lives Matter protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and various members of the Proud Boys, the group that has been labeled the key instigators of the Capitol riot. The site had been used by other “Stop the Steal” rally participants to fund their trips.

Nearly a month after Ryan left Washington, it seems like she’s once again in familiar company.

It is unclear how long the site will be able to process payments for such fundraisers. Two of its former payment processors, Stripe and PayPal, have broken ties with the company after learning it was allowing fundraisers for people who attended the events at the Capitol.

A press release on the company’s website says GiveSendGo “allows anyone to use their site, so long as the crowdfunding is legal, even if the founders disagree with the purpose of the campaign.”

Fortunately for Ryan, she says she doesn’t really need the help.

“Take a secret? I really don't need the donations,” she wrote in another deleted tweet. “I was just giving people the opportunity to contribute and be blessed by their giving. Whoever donates to me is going to be blessed beyond measure.”

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