The FBI previously alleged that Powell, wearing a pink hat and carrying a bullhorn, helped shatter a window with a battering ram and appeared to direct others at the scene.
Chief U.S. District Judge Beryl A. Howell approved Powell’s conditional home release on Feb. 11 pending trial, subject to location monitoring and the mask requirement.
In an order Friday, a trial judge wrote that Powell appeared to respond evasively to a court compliance officer when asked about a video recently posted on social media apparently showing her at her workplace wearing “a see-through mesh mask” with holes big enough to see her nose and mouth through it.
In a report to the court, the officer said Powell “was evasive in answering” questions about the material of the mask and said she added that she “threw it away per her attorney’s advisement.”
“Defendant’s decision to appear in a video wearing a mask with holes in it mocks compliance with the Court’s Order,” U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth wrote, adding that no reasonable person could think that it complied with a condition Howell imposed to ensure that the defendant “would not pose a risk to the health and safety of the community when she left her house.”’
Lamberth gave Powell 10 days to respond in writing why she should not be punished for violating bond conditions.
“The court does not take defendant’s willingness to flout the Court’s Order lightly,” said Lamberth, one of Howell’s predecessors as chief district judge. “Additionally, the Court is concerned with defense counsel’s apparent reaction to defendant’s non-compliance.” Lamberth directed Powell’s attorney to explain his alleged instruction to dispose of evidence.
In an email, Powell attorney Michael J. Engle of Philadelphia said: “I need to review the matter with my client and file a response with the Court. However, I can state with absolute certainty that the characterization of any legal advice I may have provided to my client is not accurate.”
Law & Crime first reported on April 9 that a video appearing to show Powell in a see-through mask was posted on the Facebook page of Mr. Bookman, a used-book store in Franklin, Pa., on March 31, before being taken down less than an hour after the reporter contacted the owners.
The Sharon Herald reported that Powell has protested pandemic closures and associated job and business losses with the bookshop’s owners. The paper quoted her as saying, “We are all essential [workers], because we all have to feed our families,’’ and, “I don’t think the governor has the right to tell people not to work.” The news story also included her in a photo holding a sign saying, “The mask is a symbol of our enslavement.”