Politics - News Analysis
MAGA Rioter Who Stormed Pelosi’s Office ‘Visibly Distraught’ That Judge Sent Her Directly to Jail After Guilty Verdict
A Pennsylvania woman who was part of the mob that ransacked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office on January 6 has been convicted of impeding police officers who were defending the Capitol and immediately remanded to a federal prison, Politico reports.
Riley Williams, 23, was convicted of six charges, including two felonies — participating in a civil disorder and impeding officers as they tried to clear the Capitol Rotunda. Even though the jury deliberated for three days they were unable to reach a unanimous verdict on two crucial charges: whether Williams “aided and abetted” during the theft of a laptop from Pelosi’s office that the speaker used the laptop to make Zoom calls while Covid raged; and obstruction of Congress’s January 6 proceedings. That felony alone carries a 20-year maximum penalty, Politico reports.
Now prosecutors have to decide whether to retry Williams on these two charges. Whatever they decide, she’ll receive her sentence in February.
But if there’s one thing that U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman knew, it’s that Williams was a flight risk and she immediately remanded her to federal prison, concurring with prosecutors that Williams was a definite flight risk if she was released while awaiting sentencing. Williams was “packed and ready to flee” in the aftermath of January 6, Jackson noted, and already fully understood how to cover her tracks. But that wasn’t the only thing that sealed the deal for Jackson. The judge knew Williams acted aggressively toward officers and that led her to doubt that she would obey court orders if she was released to await her sentence. And prosecutors said Williams faces a multi-year sentence that may be lengthened due to her efforts to delete messages and cover up her conduct.
“She was profane. She was obnoxious. She was threatening,” Jackson noted. “She organized others to forcibly resist.”
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Williams remained impassive throughout her trial but became visibly distraught when she realized Jackson was sending her straight to prison. She briefly smiled and thanked her defense attorney, Lori Ulrich before she was led away.
NBC News calls Williams a “far-right extremist” and notes she is “a devotee of Nick Fuentes and a far-right, white nationalist movement she is affiliated with called the Groypers.” The ADL describes Fuentes as a Christian nationalist, white nationalist, and “white supremacist leader and organizer.”
I can’t help but think Williams may face a few Orange Is The New Black moments. I don’t know if you’ve watched the series but the protagonist in the series, Piper Chapman, played by Taylor Schilling, is an atheist who has a major run-in with Tiffany Doggett, played by Taryn Manning. Those scenes were pretty epic. Since Williams affiliates herself with the white nationalist movement, I hope she does have a few of those moments.
I’m not suggesting that anything bad should happen to her, I’m just hoping this will teach this woman to cool her jets. Especially since Raw Story notes that during the trial, “jurors were shown video of Williams exhorting rioters to push past security lines of police and climb stairs to the House Speaker’s suite of offices. In his closing argument Wednesday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Samuel Dalke described Williams as a zealous instigator who helped ‘weaponize’ a seemingly rudderless crowd.”
Dalke also told jurors the “danger of the mob is in the numbers, in the crush of people in that chaos.”
“And the danger is so much worse when someone … is focusing the power of that mob. Everywhere the defendant went on January 6th, she dialed up the chaos,” he explained.
CBS News correspondent Scott MacFarlane has covered this and other January 6 trials extensively, and has reported, via Twitter:
“Judge orders Riley Williams go directly to jail. She’ll be in US Marshals custody until her February sentencing. Her defense attorney tells me it’s a surprise to Williams.”
“Williams,” McFarlane writes, “who’d successfully secured permission to travel to multiple ‘Renaissance fairs’ pending trial & had brought pink purse to court, goes to jail. A man who was sitting in courtroom for her trial carried her purse outside. Her defense says ruling was shock to them.”
Obviously, Williams thought she’d be released while awaiting her sentencing. Well surprise, surprise.
Williams, who’d successfully secured court permission to travel to multiple “Renaissance fairs” pending trial & had brought pink purse to court, goes to jail. A man who was sitting in courtroom for her trial carried her purse outside. Her defense says ruling was shock to them
— Scott MacFarlane (@MacFarlaneNews) November 21, 2022