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March 23, 2023

Pennsylvania woman who stormed Nancy Pelosi's office sentenced to three years in prison

Riley Williams, 23, was found guilty of interfering with law enforcement in the U.S. Capitol riot. A verdict couldn't be reached on charges related to the former House Speaker's stolen laptop.

A Harrisburg woman who stormed U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi's office during the Jan. 6 riot has been sentenced to three years in prison for her role in the Capitol breach, a U.S. District Court judge decided Thursday.

Riley Williams, 23, was convicted in November on felony counts of interfering with law enforcement officers during a civil disorder and resisting or impeding law enforcement officers, in addition to four misdemeanor charges.

After serving her prison term, Williams will be under supervised release for three years and must pay $2,000 restitution.

Williams was among thousands of supporters of former President Donald Trump who attended the "Stop The Steal" rally that preceded the mob infiltration of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Williams was connected to the far-right extremist movement Groyper, a term embraced by followers of white supremacist and "America First" leader Nick Fuentes, federal prosecutors said. In the month leading up to the Capitol riot, Williams had attended rallies where Fuentes gave speeches protesting the outcome of the 2020 election.

Williams entered the U.S. Capitol building through the Senate Wing Door around 2:15 p.m. and remained inside for approximately 90 minutes, prosecutors said. While inside, Williams moved through the Crypt and the Rotunda before making her way into the Office of the Speaker of the House, joined by other rioters. Pelosi, who was the House Speaker at the time, stepped down before the new Congress formed in January.

Williams was suspected of stealing a laptop from Pelosi's office, but a jury could not reach a verdict on charges stemming from that allegation. Federal court filings alleged that Williams had bragged online about taking Pelosi's laptop, hard drives and gavel. Prosecutors said those items still had not been recovered, and Pelosi's chief of staff confirmed that the laptop was taken during the riot.

During her time inside the Capitol, Williams recorded videos and took photos that prosecutors used as evidence in the case. At one point, Williams threw a water bottle at police officers and called them traitors, investigators said.

Inside Pelosi's office, audio recordings picked up Williams telling another rioter, "Take that f***ing laptop," and, "Dude, put on gloves!"

Prosecutors also said Williams organized groups of rioters into a "human battering ram" to break through police lines

Williams was arrested in Harrisburg on Jan. 18, 2021. Investigators said her father had given her a ride to Washington on the day of the riot and that she had returned to Pennsylvania in the hours after the Capitol building was secured. Investigators said Williams tried to evade law enforcement and destroyed evidence to impede the investigation.

Williams was released from Dauphin County Prison three days after her arrest and was permitted to stay with her mother under home detention with location monitoring.

More than 1,000 people have been arrested in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to U.S. Capitol breach, including more than 320 people charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement.