Republican county chairwoman arrested in Jan. 6 investigation

Taylor County woman advertised Ga. congressional fundraiser a day before arrest

One of the Georgians arrested last week on charges of participating in the Jan. 6, 2021 U.S. Capitol riot is a local Republican Party official, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution has learned.

Mandy Robinson-Hand and her husband, Charles Hand III, were arrested Friday by the FBI and charged with four misdemeanors related to their alleged entry into the Capitol alongside hundreds of others in the pro-Trump crowd. Robinson-Hand is listed as chairwoman of the Taylor County Republican Party on the website of the Georgia Republican Party and her Facebook page shows she was involved in local politics in the Middle Georgia county.

The evening before her March 11 arrest, Robinson-Hand advertised a political fundraiser for congressional candidate Wayne Johnson on her Facebook page.

“I’ve heard him speak at a Meet and Greet in Macon County last month,” she wrote. “This primary election will be difficult for me. I’m still undecided on most.”

Credit: Chris Joyner

Credit: Chris Joyner

Taylor County is a small, rural county between Macon and Columbus. It is solidly Republican. In the 2020 presidential contest, Trump took 63% of the vote. Butler, the county seat, is the largest city with just under 2,000 residents.

Robinson-Hand did not respond to a request for comment for this story. A statement from the Georgia Republican Party did not speak directly to the alleged actions of Robinson-Hand, but condemned violence at the Capitol.

“The Georgia Republican Party has repeatedly condemned political violence, including any violence that took place on January 6, 2021,” said Executive Director Brandon Moye. “We have repeatedly urged, and will continue to urge, that political protest be peaceful and orderly.”

Federal authorities identified the Hands from tips, surveillance camera and documentary film footage, and the electronic signatures from their cell phones, which investigators say put the couple in several locations inside the Capitol, according to an FBI affidavit filed in the case.

Photos included in the affidavit show the couple walking through the Capitol holding hands. But a documentary video archived online shows the couple in the plaza by the West Terrace amid a crowd of rioters fighting with a line of Metro DC Police.

At one point in the video, Charles Hand appears to shout at Robinson-Hand, pulling her by the arm toward the crowd, then using his shoulder to push the mob as it tried to break the police line. But Charles Hand posted about the episode at length on his Facebook page, claiming that violence was caused by “Antifa sporting Trump gear.”

Robinson-Hand isn’t the only political figure arrested in the massive Jan. 6 investigation. Several politicians from other states have been among the more than 775 people arrested so far by the FBI, including some state legislators (although none from Georgia).

Taking part in the Jan. 6 riot has not necessarily been disqualifying for some Republican politicians. In November, the Republican majority in the North Carolina House seated newly elected State Rep. Donnie Loftis even though, by his own admission, he was at the door of the Capitol when it was breached and he was “gassed three times” by police.

The Hands are each charged with entering a restricted building, two separate counts of disorderly conduct and another count of unlawful demonstrating at the Capitol. They were released on their own recognizance pending their arraignment in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.

It’s not Robinson-Hand’s first arrest. In 2009, she received a five-year sentence in Taylor County on a drug charge for opiates, for which she served four months behind bars, according to records from the Georgia Department of Correction.