In court papers filed last week, prosecutors laid out seven reasons they believed Ms. Morgan-Lloyd should not have to serve time in prison in what could become a checklist of sorts for other minor defendants seeking no prison time. The prosecutors noted that Ms. Morgan-Lloyd was not violent at the Capitol, did not plan her breach in advance, remained inside only briefly and allowed investigators to question her thoroughly about her role in the riot as well as search her cellphone.
Prosecutors also said she had no criminal history and accepted responsibility for her wrongdoing in a timely fashion. While some Republican politicians have played down the Capitol attack, Ms. Morgan-Lloyd submitted a statement to the court saying that she was “ashamed” of her behavior and suggesting that her relatively peaceful part in the breach allowed others to do worse.
“At first it didn’t dawn on me, but later I realized that if every person like me, who wasn’t violent, was removed from that crowd, the ones who were violent may have lost the nerve to do what they did,” Ms. Morgan-Lloyd wrote. “For that I am sorry and take responsibility. It was never my intent to help empower people to act violently.”
On the advice of her lawyer, H. Heather Shaner, Ms. Morgan-Lloyd also undertook a kind of sensitivity training, reading books like “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee,” “Just Mercy” and “Schindler’s List” to educate herself, as Ms. Shaner said in court filings, about “‘government policy’ toward Native Americans, African Americans and European Jews.” Ms. Morgan-Lloyd also watched “Tulsa Burning,” a documentary about the 1921 Tulsa race massacre on the History Channel.
“I’ve learned that even though we live in a wonderful country things still need to improve,” she wrote in her statement. “People of all colors should feel as safe as I do to walk down the street.”
Ms. Morgan-Lloyd, a longtime Democrat who supported Mr. Trump, went to Washington on Jan. 6 to hear him speak accompanied by a friend from Indiana, Dona Sue Bissey, the owner of a hair-care establishment called the Hothead Salon. The two were among some of the first people to enter the Capitol, but they did little more than walk down a hallway and then leave.
One day after the attack, Ms. Bissey posted a photograph on Facebook tagging Ms. Morgan-Lloyd and another person who was with them, writing, “It was a day I’ll remember forever.” Ms. Morgan-Lloyd responded with a comment that read, “That was the most exciting day of my life.”