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Harrisburg Woman Who Stormed Pelosi’s Office During Jan. 6 Riot Gets 3 Years in Prison

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FILE - This booking photo provided by the Dauphin County, Pa., Prison, shows Riley June Williams. The Harrisburg woman linked to the far-right “Groyper” extremist movement, was sentenced Thursday, March 23, 2023, to three years in prison for her role in the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol. (Dauphin County Prison via AP)

By Patrick Berkery

March 24, 2023

Following the Capitol riot, Riley Williams, 23, bragged online about stealing then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s gavel, laptop, and hard drives, and her intent to sell the laptop and hard drives to Russian individuals.

Riley Williams, a Harrisburg woman connected to the far-right “Groyper” extremist movement, was sentenced to three years in prison on Thursday for storming the US Capitol and invading then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office with other rioters on Jan. 6, 2021.

Williams, 23, was charged but not convicted of helping steal a laptop from Pelosi’s office during the Jan. 6 riot.

In November, Williams was convicted on six of the eight charges against her, including civil disorder. The jury was deadlocked on the final two charges, which were “aiding and abetting the theft” of the laptop from Pelosi’s office and obstructing an official proceeding, the Jan. 6 joint session of Congress for certifying President Joe Biden’s 2020 electoral victory. 

The judge also sentenced Williams to three years of supervised release after her prison term and ordered her to pay $2,000 in restitution, according to the U.S. attorney’s office for the District of Columbia. Prosecutors sought a seven-year sentence for Williams.

Prosecutors said Williams entered Pelosi’s office during the riot, found a laptop on a table, and told another rioter to “put on gloves,” before an unknown person wearing a black glove removed the computer. 

Williams wore a green “I’m with Groyper” T-shirt when she traveled to Washington, D.C., with her father and his friends on Jan. 6. They attended Trump’s “Stop the Steal” rally before heading to the Capitol. Williams entered the building through the Senate Wing Door two minutes after other rioters breached the entrance.

Williams used men wearing helmets and body armor like a “human battering ram,” pushing them forward to break through police lines inside the Capitol, prosecutors said. Entering Pelosi’s main conference room, she stole a gavel and encouraged another rioter to take a laptop from atop a table, according to prosecutors.

Later, Williams bragged online that she had stolen Pelosi’s gavel, laptop, and hard drives. She also said that she “gave the electronic devices, or attempted to give them, to unspecified Russian individuals,” according to a 2022 court filing. She denied stealing the laptop when the FBI questioned her and claimed that her ex-boyfriend “made up” the allegation. 

A witness described as a former romantic partner of Williams 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 service. But the witness said Williams kept the device or destroyed it when the transfer fell through, according to the FBI.

Williams, who was 21 at the time, was arrested less than two weeks after the riot.

Her online footprint also showed her association with “accelerationism,” prosecutors also said. Accelerationism is an ideology that asserts “Western governments are corrupt and unsalvageable, and therefore the best thing a person can do is accelerate their collapse by sowing social chaos and generating political conflict.”

While on house arrest awaiting her trial, Williams was allowed to attend the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire twice.

To date, 76 Pennsylvanians have been arrested in connection to the insurrection, and 35 have been sentenced. Two died by suicide while awaiting sentencing. 

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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