A key instigator of the January 6 insurrection, who broke into the office of then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi along with other rioters, was sentenced Thursday to three years in prison.
Riley June Williams, 23, of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, “gaily led and mobilized” other rioters during the attack on the Capitol, acting as an “accelerator” for the inflamed hordes, the US Department of Justice said.
She had been convicted in November 2022 of six federal counts in the 2021 attack, and the jury was uncertain whether she helped steal Pelosi’s laptop and interfered with an official proceeding.
Williams, affiliated with the far-right extremist group “Groyper,” was arrested two weeks after the riots and charged with theft of government property, assaulting police and obstructing the joint session of Congress to certify the Electoral College vote. In addition, there were misdemeanor charges for disorderly conduct or disruptive conduct.
Prosecutors said Williams used other rioters dressed in helmets and body armor to break through police lines inside the Capitol like a “human battering ram.” They broke into Pelosi’s main conference room, where she stole a sledgehammer and encouraged another rioter to take the laptop, prosecutors said.
“While the other rioter later tampered with the laptop and its cables, Williams filmed the theft she had just ordered and encouraged, then instructed the rioter: ‘Dude, put on gloves!’ “, prosecutors wrote in a court filing. “Wherever he went, Williams acted as a throttle, exacerbating the chaos. Where others backed down, she pushed forward.”
At the Rotunda, he yelled insults at police and incited other rioters to push officers. Williams later bragged on social media about stealing Pelosi’s sledgehammer, laptop, and hard drives.
Prosecutors were seeking seven years and three months for the 23-year-old, while defense attorneys cited her youth and lack of criminal record as grounds for a lesser sentence. US District Judge Amy Berman Jackson split the difference into three years, followed by three more years of supervised release. Williams must also pay $2,000 in restitution.
with cable news services