Reporter Michael Kunzelman spent weeks gaining the trust of a U.S. Capitol riot defendant, resulting in an exclusive look at how the aftermath of Jan. 6 has affected her and her business.
Kunzelman is an integral part of the AP team across the country reporting on the Capitol riot criminal cases, looking thematic stories beyond the daily court proceedings. He arranged to meet Pauline Bauer after a court hearing in Washington, and after a brief interview she agreed to meet him at her restaurant in Kane, Pennsylvania, a town of fewer than 4,000 residents in a county where nearly three-quarters of voters cast ballots for Trump in November. In Kane he interviewed Bauer and a fellow Capitol riot defendant, the mayor and residents both loyal and hostile to Bauer. Bauer’s arrest and that of a longtime friend have rekindled partisan bickering, mostly on social media some residents say, as many in Kane struggle to comprehend how two of their neighbors could be among the hundreds of Trump loyalists bent on overturning the election that day.
Kunzelman also delivered photos with the piece, which was the second most-read story of the week on AP News, second only to Simone Biles sitting out Olympic competition.