FBI Questions Capitol Protesters, Including Newport Beach Woman

February 8, 2021 Updated: February 9, 2021

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif.—Diana Davis was on her houseboat in Newport Beach, California, when she received an unexpected phone call from an FBI agent who wanted to question her about the Jan. 6 Capitol protests and breach.

The problem? Davis wasn’t there.

Although she initially planned to be at the Capitol grounds to pray, she said, a delayed plane prevented her from attending the confirmation of the electoral votes.

Nevertheless, the agent wanted to talk.

“They were looking for people that were there inside the Capitol, and if we were a part of it. And I told them that we weren’t,” Davis told The Epoch Times. “I had to prove that I wasn’t there.”

Davis is one of the latest in a string of Orange County residents investigated by the FBI in connection with the Capitol riot. She said she believes investigators are focusing on all known supporters of former President Donald Trump and not only those likely to have committed a crime.

“I feel like they’re targeting Trump supporters; and they’re trying to silence me in some way, and trying to intimidate me to shut up,” she said. “I won’t. I will speak truth.”

FBI spokesperson Ann Parrillo refuted the claim that the agency’s investigations stem from political affiliations.

“The FBI does not track and monitor groups,” Parrillo told The Epoch Times. “The FBI investigates activity which may constitute a federal crime or pose a threat to national security, and we cannot initiate an investigation based solely on an individual’s exercise of First Amendment rights, race, ethnicity, national origin, or religion.

“Our focus is not on speech or membership in particular groups, but on individuals who commit violence and other criminal acts. We do not police ideology.”

During the Jan. 6 vote confirmation, an insurrection unfolded as people began to scale walls, topple barriers, and occupy the Capitol. Four rioters and one police officer were killed.

The FBI has stated it has deployed its full investigative resources to pursue those involved.

It has reportedly charged at least 205 people nationwide and is investigating more than 400 others. According to the Department of Justice, 11 people charged are from California, with one suspect from Orange County.

Orange County Suspects

Several Orange County residents have been subject to FBI raids and arrests related to the Capitol riot.

On Jan. 28, a Huntington Beach man was arrested by the FBI for allegedly trespassing on Capitol grounds. Mark Simon, 49, faces federal charges of trespassing and participating in unlawful activities on Capitol grounds.

His arrest came after an FBI agent discovered a blog post at orangejuiceblog.com that appeared to show a video of Simon in the Capitol shouting, “In the Capitol, baby, yeah!” and “2021 Donald Trump!” according to an FBI affidavit dated Jan. 21.

The video showed a group of protestors pushing against the Capitol police who were standing in the hallway of the Capitol building entrance.

Simon had spoken with The Epoch Times shortly after the event, saying he saw “very minor destruction” considering the size of the crowd. He felt media clips focusing on the damage that did occur gave a different impression.

He said he saw many “frustrated patriots” attending the rally who “just wanted to be heard.”

“If the patriots wanted to get in there and cause damage or burn the Capitol down or get to Congress or hurt anybody, they would have got hurt,” he said. “They had full control of the place. Cops had no control throughout the day. We could have gone wherever we wanted at any time, and it was not done. They were restrained.”

The FBI also raided the Ladera Ranch homes of Russell Taylor and Alan Hostetter, who held a rally near the Capitol on Jan. 5. Neither was charged with a crime.

Aside from FBI investigations, other Jan. 6 protesters have faced some consequences back in Orange County. John Eastman, a Chapman University law professor, gave a speech outside the Capitol on Jan. 6 and has said he believes the presidential election results were fraudulent.

After an outcry from university faculty, he agreed to a settlement with the university to retire in January.

The Orange County Sheriff’s Department investigated one of its own, an unidentified employee, after receiving a tip that the person was at the protests on Jan. 6. Sgt. Dennis Breckner told The Epoch Times last month, “We are looking into the matter because as an employer, we want to know if any wrongdoing took place.”

An Unexpected Visitor

Davis said she was contacted by an FBI agent on Feb. 1; the woman wanted to discuss Davis’s recent trip to the nation’s capital. Although Davis was in Washington from Jan. 6 to Jan. 9, her flight was delayed and she said she landed after the riots were over.

It was too late to go out, she said, as a curfew was in place.

“It was hard to even try to get [to the hotel] because most of the streets were blocked off. … We had a taxicab driver that took us around the back way to try to get us in. … He took us as close as he could get us and then we walked the rest of the way to the hotel,” Davis said.

The next day, she found a large prayer tent called David’s Tent just outside the Capitol and joined some 25 other Christians there in worship and prayer for the country.

Davis and her husband ran into many other people who were praying, and joined a sizable group marching near the Capitol grounds. “We just had big prayer rally and just started praying for our country and President Trump,” Davis said.

“I just thought it was part of our patriotic duties.”

Epoch Times Photo
Diana Davis and her husband, Wayne Acker Jr., pose in front of the Capitol building in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 7, 2021. (Courtesy of Diana Davis)

She said she doesn’t know how an FBI agent obtained her cellphone number, but she agreed to meet with agents at a nearby American Legion on Feb. 2.

The FBI told her they were looking for those responsible for placing a pipe bomb in the Republican National Committee and another in the Democratic National Committee.

The agents also asked if Davis had pictures of people who were at the Capitol. They wanted to look through her photos, but she declined.

“They wanted pictures from our cellphones of any pictures that we had of anybody [at the Capitol],” Davis said. “It just was shocking to me that they would even pull me aside and say, well, ‘we want [to talk to you].’”

Davis showed the agents her flight itinerary to prove she wasn’t present during the riots. They spoke for about 30 minutes before the agents left.

Anonymous Tipster

The FBI agent said they contacted Davis because an unidentified individual reported her on the FBI’s website.

Davis had posted many photos on Facebook of herself and her husband outside of the Capitol building during her trip.

“I’m always open about what I’m doing. I’m very transparent,” she said. “I posted videos of where I was and what I’m doing.”

Davis condemned the individuals who barged into the Capitol on Jan. 6.

“They shouldn’t have done that, and that was wrong. We have a president of law and order. And I believe in law in order too. They were definitely wrong for breaking in.

“I’m just a citizen that believes in God and our country and our president, and I just came up there to pray.”