Pair of guilty pleas for suburban Chicagoans charged in Jan. 6 attack on US Capitol

ByChuck Goudie and Barb Markoff, Christine Tressel and Ross Weidner WLS logo
Wednesday, August 31, 2022
2 suburban Chicagoans charged in Jan. 6 attack plead guilty
Dawn Frankowski, of Naperville, and David Wiersma, of Posen, have both pleaded guilty to January 6th related crimes.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Two suburban Chicagoans, Dawn Frankowski and David Wiersma, have both pleaded guilty to January 6th related crimes. Frankowski, 54, pleaded guilty on Wednesday and 67-year-old Wiersma on Tuesday.

They traveled together to Washington, D.C. and now paid the price for a road trip that ended with them in the middle of a Capitol riot.

The pair from metro Chicago had first attended Donald Trump's ill-named "Stop the Steal" rally, according to prosecutors.

SEE ALSO | Suburban Chicago women charged in Jan 6 attack on US Capitol expected to plead guilty

Investigators say Frankowski, from Naperville, and Wiersma, from Posen, marched to the U.S. Capitol and ended up inside the secured building.

On social media posts highlighted in court documents, Wiersma claimed it was "like going to the shopping mall" even though entry to the building for many was through broken windows and after battling with police.

Frankowski went inside two Capitol offices but was only inside for a few minutes, according to authorities. Because they didn't commit violent acts, they join hundreds of others charged with misdemeanors and pleading guilty.

SEE ALSO | CPD officer charged in Jan 6 attack reportedly to turn down plea deal, lawyer says

"A misdemeanor is not a felony, it will not automatically disqualify these people from getting any number of jobs. It might disqualify them from getting one or two. But unlike a felony, it doesn't have that effect. But it will stay with them forever. They have a criminal record. And there are employers who might care about that there are organizations that might care about that, and they're going to have to live with that for the rest of their lives," said Gil Soffer, ABC 7 Legal Analyst.

Former Chicago federal prosecutor Soffer told the I-Team that the latest two Illinoisans pleading guilty proves that prosecutors have a two-tiered approach to Jan 6th. While most get slapped with misdemeanors, others are hit with felonies and jail time. He says Frankowski and Wiersma likely won't face jail time.

"The most they could possibly get would be six months. I think it's highly unlikely that they get any jail time," said Soffer.

Attorneys for both Wiersma and Frankowski offered no comment when contacted by the ABC7 I-Team. They are among at least 33 people from Illinois charged after violent crowds overtook the U.S. Capitol. According to their plea deals, the wreckage from that day totaled more than $2.7 million of which they are to pay $500 each.