A couple from Maryland was arrested today by the FBI on charges of illegal and violent entry and disorderly conduct on January 6 at the U.S. Capitol.
But it was not their conduct that truly set them apart from other accused insurrectionists - it was the bizarre interviews they gave to FBI agents some five months after the fact.
Cynthia Catherine Ballenger and Christopher John Price -- identified by an informant in the FBI report as a married couple -- gave separate interviews to the FBI on June 24. They took unusual approaches to that task, according to the criminal complaint filed today.
When asked how she traveled to Washington, D.C. on January 6, 2021, "Ballenger responded that the FBI should know or be able to figure out that information," the report stated.
"Ballenger denied having been at the U.S. Capitol at the time when others damaged property and assaulted law enforcement officers," the report continued. "Ballenger said there were different categories of people at the U.S. Capitol and she believed that she and Price were on the low-end of the spectrum."
Ballenger also told FBI she went to a cafe on January 6 to meet some friends, but they never arrived.
"She said the FBI should be able to figure out where the cafe was located and declined to provide names or contact information for the friends," the agent reported.
As for Price, when asked if he and Ballenger were at the Capitol, he said "hypothetically." Price then added that if they were at the Capitol on January 6 "they were not among (those) that were causing problems but may have been swept up and just followed the crowd," the report stated.
"Price said that there are times when you look back when you have done something, and at the time you do not know that you are doing anything wrong and you do not feel like you are doing anything wrong, but then later you find out what you did may have been wrong," the complaint claims. "Price said that whatever happened on January 6, and whatever the consequences may be, it was all in God's hands now."
To borrow Ballenger's phrase, the FBI was able "to figure out" that the two had texted friends from the Capitol -- including sending photos -- that appear to have made their presence in the building not so hypothetical. At 3:24 p.m. on January 6, Price texted a friend, "broken glass everywhere" and "climbing through the window" and "worth fighting for Trump."
Some 18 minutes later, he sent a photo of Ballenger outside the Capitol with the message, "Cynthia smiling but she's freezing."
You can read the FBI criminal complaint here.