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Midland Business Owner and Right-Wing Activist Arrested By FBI In Connection With Riot At U.S. Capitol

By Mitch Borden 

A week after she swarmed the U.S. Capitol along with an insurrectionist mob, the FBI has arrested one-time Midland mayoral candidate and business owner Jenny Cudd. 

Cudd, who posted a 25-minute video recounting the Jan. 6 riot that left five dead, was taken into custody Wednesday morning in connection with the riot at the capitol. She's been charged with two misdemeanors. If convicted, Cudd could serve up to a year in prison and be fined over $100,000. 

Hours after the attack, as she drank a beer on the steps of the D.C. hotel she was staying at, Cudd told her followers on a Facebook Live,  “I f***ing charged the capital with patriots today. Hell yes, I’m proud of my actions.”

In follow-up interviews with local media, Cudd denied any wrongdoing and said she didn’t regret her actions. 

“I would do it again in a heartbeat,” Cudd told Newswest 9, the local NBC affiliate. 

Leading up to her arrest Cudd said she received multiple death threats following her participation in the Jan. 6 attack. Cudd claims she wasn’t violent and had only “walked into an open door” at the Capitol.

The video Cudd posted on Jan. 6 went viral, specifically a clip where she seemed to describe breaking into Nancy Pelosi’s office. 

“We did break down Nancy Pelosi’s office door. And somebody stole her gavel and took a picture sitting in the chair flipping off the camera and that was on Fox News,” Cudd told viewers. 

The video quickly drew criticism and Cudd’s statements were reported to the FBI. Celebrities like Patton Oswalt and Jane Lynch called for her arrest on Twitter. 

Cudd however later told local media that she had not broken into Nancy Pelosi’s office. She explained that she often uses the term “we” to describe the actions of her fellow Trump supporters.

She also repeatedly, and without evidence, blamed the riot’s destruction on what she claimed were “ANTIFA members...dressed in Trump gear.” 

However, there is no evidence to back this up.

Cudd’s most recent explanation for the riot also conflicts with how she immediately described what happened following the attack. 

“What this is is a bunch of red-blooded American patriots that actually give a s**t about our country and keeping it,” Cudd said during a now-deleted Facebook Live video. “They are tired of being told what to do. They are tired of watching [Republicans and Democrats] constantly stab us in the back.”

Cudd is a local business owner and ran for Midland mayor in 2019. She received 15% of votes, but lost to the city’s current mayor Patrick Payton. Cudd has grown in prominence following her defeat as an outspoken critic of coronavirus precautions such as mask mandates and business closures. 

Along with Cudd, Midlander Eliel Rosas was taken into custody by the FBI, according to a spokesperson with the United States Attorney’s Office Western District of Texas.

Mitch Borden is Permian Basin Reporter & Producer at Marfa Public Radio.