Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Activist charged in Jan. 6 attack is among Herschel Walker’s campaign ‘captains’

Supporters of President Donald Trump protest on the steps of the U.S. Capitol building on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6, 2021.   (Yuri Gripas/Yuri Gripas/TNS)
By Greg Bluestein and Chris Joyner Atlanta Journal-Constitution

ATLANTA – Republican Senate hopeful Herschel Walker’s campaign recently listed a woman who was arrested in March on charges of participating in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol as one of his “county captains.”

The former football star’s campaign included Mandy Robinson-Hand in an August news release that named dozens of other grassroots supporters. Robinson-Hand, the chairwoman of Taylor County’s GOP, was listed as a campaign “captain” for the rural middle Georgia county.

Robinson-Hand and her husband, Charles Hand III, were arrested about 14 months after the pro-Donald Trump insurrection attempt. They are scheduled for a status conference in federal court in Washington, D.C., next month.

Walker’s aides didn’t immediately comment on the list of activists backing his bid, which was intended to show the campaign’s organizational strength. The site that listed the grassroots county captains was deactivated late Monday and routed to a campaign fundraising site.

Among the other “captains” on the list is Kay Godwin, a Pierce County, Atlanta, activist who was among the fake GOP electors who were part of a plot to overturn the 2020 election in Georgia. She and others on the phony slate could face criminal charges linked to an ongoing Fulton County investigation.

Walker, who is challenging U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock, has promoted phony conspiracy theories about election fraud in the months after the former president was defeated and called on Trump to “get to the bottom of who stole this election” as the rioters rushed the Capitol.

And at a May campaign stop, Walker wouldn’t say whether he thought President Joe Biden won the 2020 election. Instead, he said there were “problems” with the vote in Georgia. More recently, however, his campaign has highlighted the “narrow margin” of Biden’s victory.

The election wasn’t stolen. Three separate tallies upheld Biden’s narrow victory in Georgia, an audit of absentee ballot signatures in Cobb County found no cases of fraud, court challenges by Trump allies were squashed, and bipartisan officials – including Trump’s attorney general – have said the election was fair.

There is little doubt that the Hands were inside the U.S. Capitol during the riot. They were arrested after the FBI received tips about their attendance that were backed up by surveillance footage, documentary film clips and location data from their mobile phones.

The Hands face four misdemeanor charges, none involving accusations of violence or property damage. An appeal in their names on a Christian fundraising site described the couple as “targets of the left.”

“They did, and still do, believe that the 2020 presidential election was tampered with and the results are fraudulent,” read the fundraising pitch, which was apparently written by Hand’s father.

Court filings indicate the couple are engaged in discussions with the Justice Department on a possible plea deal, but the documents include few details.

While some people similarly charged have pleaded guilty and probation and community service, Robinson-Hand has had prior run-ins with the law that could complicate a plea deal.

State records indicate that in 2009 she served four months in prison on a five-year sentence on a drug charge for opiates in Taylor County. Most Jan. 6 defendants do not have a prior criminal record, but the few that do generally have faced more scrutiny from federal judges weighing their punishment.