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Brother and sister missionaries from Saratoga County now charged in Jan. 6 breach – Times Union

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Still image taken from video used as evidence shows siblings Katelyn and Travis Bartow during the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol, according to a federal complaint in the case.
Still image taken from video used as evidence shows siblings Katelyn and Travis Bartow during the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol,  according to a federal complaint in the case.
Still image taken from video used as evidence shows siblings Katelyn and Travis Bartow during the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol,  according to a federal complaint in the case.
ALBANY — Katelyn Bartow proudly documented her Christian missionary work in Haiti on Facebook, where photos show the Saratoga County woman donned cowboy hats, rode horses and beamed with pride over her family.
Unfortunately for Bartow, federal investigators also documented her social media posts, including images of her and her older brother, Travis Bartow of Tennessee, inside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 — the day it was breached by more than 2,000 avid supporters of then-President Donald Trump. The legions of rioters stormed the building as Congress was to certify President Joe Biden’s election victory.
On Friday, court papers unsealed in U.S. District Court in Albany unveiled the details that led Katelyn Bartow, 29, of Hadley and Travis Bartow, 31, of Nashville to face federal misdemeanor charges that carry up to 18 months behind bars upon conviction. The Times Union first reported on the younger Bartow’s arrest on Thursday, when she pleaded not guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Christian Hummel.
Security video captured both siblings  —  Travis Bartow in a green jacket and blue jeans, Katelyn Bartow in a black cowboy hat and blue jacket —  inside the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, according to a criminal complaint and affidavit filed by an Albany-based FBI agent.
The Bartows were shown allegedly entering the Senate wing door, in a hallway, in the building’s crypt area and in a visitors area. The agent used the driver’s license photos of both siblings and their photos on social media to help identify them. Both defendants later admitted being in the Capitol, though Travis Bartow initially claimed he was there alone and not with his younger sister, the affidavit showed.
The brother and sister were charged with unlawfully entering and remaining in a restricted area of Capitol grounds, and engaging in disorderly conduct. They are at least the fourth and fifth defendants with Capital Region ties charged among the more than 880 defendants in a breach that is now the subject of congressional hearings. Federal prosecutors now say the storming of the Capitol caused more than $2.7 million in damage to the Capitol building, its grounds and in financial costs to Capitol police. 
On Facebook, Travis Bartow identified himself as a construction superintendent, as well as a husband and father — and, like his sister and family, a person willing to aid humanitarian efforts in Haiti, where the family has long done missionary work. He also expressed support for Trump, whom he mimicked in one post while clad in a “Make America Great Again” cap.
“His pride is his greatest weakness but his sincerity is his strength,” Travis Bartow said on Election Day in 2020. “All my research over the past five years, If I could say one thing for certain: He LOVES this country and it has inherently shown in my life and the lives of countless people I know.”
Four days later, when Biden was announced the winner, Travis Bartow posted on Facebook: “Let me make this clear; I will accept a Biden-Harris victory (though it may be with great reluctance) because I believe in this country. I believe power needs to be balanced and that is why our system was created the way it was.  I will not be burning businesses down, looting or rioting in the streets when the dust settles.  I will also say this; we need to remain patient.”
Court papers show he did not remain in Tennessee. In a phone interview in January 2022, Travis Bartow told the FBI agent that he had been in the Capitol.
On Feb. 1, 2021, Katelyn Bartow admitted to the FBI that she had traveled to Washington D.C. and that she appeared on social media platforms such as Facebook and TikTok. In one post, she wrote hashtags attached to terms such as “cowgirls for Trump,” “Donald Trump is your president” and “rise up,” among others.  
“She cited her reason for attending the rally was to voice her opinion on how the votes (regarding the 2020 Presidential election) were not being conveyed accurately to the public,” the agent stated. 
Bartow and her husband, who was in court Thursday with their baby, operate a dude ranch in Hadley, The Times Union reported Thursday that one day before the riots, Bartow asked in a Facebook post: “Does anyone have friends near Washington DC where I could keep my horses for a night?” 
On Jan. 21, 2021, the FBI agent spotted a Jan. 8 Facebook post by Lisa Bartow, who said her daughter had been kicked off Facebook.
“Kate is in FB jail. For this,” the mother said. “How long will we bow to the altar of censorship? Whether you agree or disagree, … why can’t we say it? Why can’t we speak our ‘truth?'”
Below, a screenshot of Katelyn Bartow’s post in question showed her outside the Capitol in the cowboy hat.
“It is better to die fighting for freedom then to live as a slave. It is better to die a prisoner fighting for what is right then to die a follower of the enslaver,” Katelyn Bartlow said.
On Jan. 25, 2021, a tipster informed the FBI that Bartow had posted on TikTok about being inside the Capitol on the day of the riots. Bartow later told the FBI that the door to the Capitol was open and that there was “no law enforcement preventing her entrance,”  the affidavit showed.
The affidavit stated Bartow said while inside the Capitol she saw a man acting aggressively toward law enforcement and that garbage was scattered around. She said she asked others to pick it up.
“What the media doesn’t want to show … Picking up trash inside the Capitol after two trash cans were tipped over,” she wrote.  “And yes, this was moments after the storming of the Capitol.”
In another TikTok post, a person stated “Still stormed the Capitol.” Katelyn Bartlow replied: “Sure did,” according to the complaint.
The case of both siblings will be adjudicated in Washington D.C. 
Robert Gavin covers state and federal courts, criminal justice issues and legal affairs for the Times Union. Contact him at rgavin@timesunion.com.

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