WASHINGTON, March 23 (AP) – A Pennsylvania woman tied to a far-right extremist movement was sentenced to three years in prison Thursday for storming the U.S. Capitol, where she joined other thugs in what was then a The office of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Riley June Williams, 23, of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, was arrested for helping steal a laptop from Pelosi’s office suite during the January 6, 2021 riots Charged but not convicted.
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After a two-week trial, a federal jury in November found Williams guilty of six counts, including felony civil disorder. But it was deadlocked on two other counts, including “aiding and abetting” the laptop theft.
Jurors were also deadlocked on charges of obstructing the formal process for a joint session of Congress on Jan. 6 to certify President Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory.
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Then-Vice President Mike Pence and members of Congress evacuated the House and Senate chambers as rioters stormed the Capitol.
Prosecutors had asked U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson to sentence Williams to seven years and three months in prison.
“Wherever she went, Williams acted as a catalyst, adding to the chaos. Where others retreated, she pushed forward,” prosecutors wrote in a court filing.
Defense attorneys are asking for a year and a day in prison for Williams, who turns 22 in January 2021.
“In some respects, she is very different from the average Jan. 6 defendant—especially given her youth and her female status,” they wrote.
“In other respects, she is similar to many other January 6 defendants with no prior convictions who were caught by the mob that day and acted on the spur of the moment without considering the consequences of their actions.”
Jackson also sentenced Williams to supervised release after serving three years and ordered her to pay $2,000 in restitution, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia.
According to prosecutors, Williams was an ardent supporter of the white nationalist “Groyper” movement led by Internet personality Nick Fuentes.
They said Williams was “obsessed” with Fuentes and clinging to the baseless claim — amplified by Fuentes — that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from Donald Trump.
Williams’ attorneys argued her political beliefs should not be a factor in her sentencing. They say the First Amendment protects her interests against Fuentes and his followers, the “Groyper Army.”
Fuentes used his online platform to spread anti-Semitic and white supremacist rhetoric.
In November, former President Trump dined with Fuentes and the rapper formerly known as Kanye West (now Ye) at his Mar-a-Lago club.
Other Fuentes followers have been charged with crimes related to Jan. 6, including former UCLA student Christian Secor, who entered the Capitol waving a gun associated with the Fuentes movement. banner. Secor was jailed for three years and six months last year.
Williams wore a green “I’m with Groyper” T-shirt as she traveled to Washington, D.C., with her father and his friends on Jan. 6.
They attended Trump’s “Stop the Stealing” rally before heading to the Capitol. Williams entered the building through the Senate wing door two minutes after other thugs broke through the entrance.
Prosecutors said Williams had men in helmets and body armor acting like “human battering rams” pushing them forward to break through the cordon inside the Capitol. Upon entering Pelosi’s main conference room, she stole a gavel and encouraged another rioter to take a laptop from a table, according to prosecutors.
“While another thug later manipulated the laptop and its wires, Williams filmed the theft she had just directed and encouraged, further instructing the thug, ‘Man, put on your gloves!'” prosecutors wrote.
Williams then went to the rotunda, where she yelled insults at officers and urged other rioters to join her in opposing the officers.
Williams spent about 90 minutes at the Capitol. After leaving, she climbed onto the roof of a parked police car.
Before her arrest, Williams destroyed evidence, deleted her social media accounts, reset her iPhone and used software to wipe her computer, according to prosecutors.
Prosecutors said in a June 2022 court filing that Williams bragged online that she stole Pelosi’s gavel, laptop and hard drive and that she “provided or attempted to provided to unspecified Russians”.
“So far, neither the laptop nor the gavel have been recovered,” they added.
A witness described as Williams’ former romantic partner told the FBI that she intended to send the stolen laptop or hard drive to a friend in Russia who planned to sell it to Russia’s foreign intelligence services.
But witnesses said Williams either kept the device or destroyed it when the transfer failed, according to the FBI.
When questioned by the FBI, Williams denied stealing the laptop.
She accused her ex-boyfriend of fabricating the allegations.
Williams was taken into custody following his Nov. 21 jury conviction.
About 1,000 people have been charged with federal crimes related to the Capitol riot.
More than 400 people were sentenced, more than half of whom received sentences ranging from seven days to 10 years in prison. (Associated Press)
(This is an unedited and auto-generated story from a Syndicated News feed, the content body may not have been modified or edited by LatestLY staff)