A major instigator of the Jan. 6 insurrection, who barged into then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office with other rioters, was sentenced Thursday to three years in prison.
Riley June Williams, 23, of Harrisburg, Pa., “gleefully directed and mobilized” fellow rioters during the attack on the Capitol, acting as an “accelerant” on the inflamed hordes, the U.S. Department of Justice said, according to CBS News.
She had been convicted in November 2022 on six federal counts in the 2021 attack, with the jury deadlocked on whether she had helped steal Pelosi’s laptop and interfered with an official proceeding.
Williams — affiliated with the far-right “Groyper” extremist group — was arrested two weeks after the riot and charged with theft of government property, assaulting police and obstructing the joint session of Congress for certifying the Electoral College vote. In addition, there were misdemeanor charges for disorderly or disruptive conduct.
Prosecutors said Williams used fellow rioters clad in helmets and body armor to break through police lines inside the Capitol a la “human battering ram.” They burst into Pelosi’s main conference room, where she nicked a gavel and encouraged another rioter to grab the laptop, prosecutors said.
“As the other rioter later manipulated the laptop and its cords, Williams filmed the theft that she had just commanded and encouraged, and further instructed the rioter, ‘Dude, put on gloves!’ ” prosecutors wrote in a court filing. “Everywhere she went, Williams acted as an accelerant, exacerbating the mayhem. Where others turned back, she pushed forward.”
In the Rotunda, she shouted insults at police and goaded fellow rioters to shove the officers. Afterward, Williams bragged on social media about stealing Pelosi’s gavel, laptop and hard drives.
Prosecutors were looking for seven years and three months for the 23-year-old, while defense attorneys cited her youth and lack of prior criminal record as reasons for a lesser sentence. U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson split the difference with three years, followed by three more of supervised release. Williams also must pay $2,000 in restitution.
With News Wire Services
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