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Woman sentenced for storming Pelosi’s office on January 6

U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson ordered Williams’ immediate return to federal prison, agreeing with prosecutors that she posed a flight risk if released pending sentencing. Williams was “packed and ready to flee” after Jan. 6, Jackson noted, and had a sophisticated understanding of how to cover her tracks. His actions to police on Jan. 6, Jackson said, eroded any confidence the judge had in Williams’ ability to obey court orders while on release. Prosecutors noted that Williams faces a multi-year sentence, which could be increased by her efforts to delete posts and cover up her conduct.

“She was profane. She was unpleasant. She was threatening,” Jackson said. “She organized others to forcibly resist.”

Williams, who remained stoic as her verdict was read, became visibly upset when she realized Jackson was going to send her to jail immediately. She smiled and thanked her defense attorney, Lori Ulrich, who called her, “You won,” as she was led away – a reference to the two blocked counts.

The verdict closes an important chapter in the Department of Justice’s January 6 investigation. Williams was among the first defendants charged and arrested for breaching the Capitol, and is the first convicted by a jury after breaking into Pelosi’s office. She is also the first woman convicted by a federal jury of offenses related to Jan. 6.

Prosecutors described Williams as a “Groyper” – a term for the sidekicks of white nationalist Nick Fuentes, who spent weeks inciting his podcast listeners to oppose the transfer of power to Joe Biden. Williams wore an “I’m with Groyper” shirt during the Jan. 6 riot and sent memes associated with Groyper to his friends mocking Democrats for cowering amid violence on Capitol Hill. One of Williams’ ex-boyfriends testified during the trial that she became obsessed with Fuentes’ podcast in the weeks leading up to Jan. 6.

The trial presented the most vivid video evidence to date of rioters who ransacked Pelosi’s suite of offices, including several conference rooms, staff offices and Pelosi’s own personal office. Rioters reveled in spilling folders on the floor, mocked the selection in its little candy dish and suggested stealing a pair of pink boxing gloves that Pelosi kept on a side table. As they rioted, prosecutors said, some Pelosi staffers remained barricaded in a nearby office, unaware of what awaited them on the other side of the door.

A senior Pelosi official, Jamie Fleet, testified to the fear his colleagues felt when trapped and discussed his own harrowing experience on the floor of the house as he prepared to fight with a mob trying to make their way into the room. Prosecutors pointed to Fleet’s testimony as they refuted claims by Williams’ defense attorney that she was caught in a “fantasy” world in the weeks leading up to January 6.

For Fleet and his colleagues, Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Gordon said in closing argument that Jan. 6 was “very, very real.”

Williams’ attorneys have described her as a naive “girl,” with no knowledge of congressional proceedings and no intent to harm Pelosi or anyone on Capitol Hill, and who initially believed she had raped the White House. Williams lied to friends about stealing items from Pelosi’s office, such as a hammer and a laptop, defense attorney Lori Ulrich says, deciding to inflate her involvement in the events, to backtrack when she realized she was in serious legal trouble.

Ulrich said jurors could convict Williams of two misdemeanor counts of disorderly conduct and parade through the Capitol.

“She should only be condemned for what she did,” Ulrich said.

Ulrich urged jurors to compare Williams — who entered the Capitol unarmed, wearing fuzzy boots and carrying a zebra-print backpack — with those who came wearing body armor and brandishing weapons. She showed a photo of members of the Oath Keepers wearing military-style clothing and helmets, describing them as “ready to do something bad”.

But prosecutors said Williams did not need to show up armed to commit the crimes she is charged with. Instead, she jumped at the chance to join the mob that raped the Capitol, urged the rioters to “take that fucking laptop” from Pelosi’s office and advised one of “putting on gloves” as he attempted to remove it.

She later joined a melee in the rotunda, turning her back on the police and pushing them. Videos suggest she also urged others in the crowd to lock arms and regroup to push back the police line. An officer involved in the skirmish described it to jurors earlier in the trial and recalled her pushing him against him.

Additionally, prosecutors sought to dismantle another defense argument: that Williams had no intention of entering the Capitol or preventing Congress from certifying the 2020 presidential election when she traveled to DC Gordon stressed that it didn’t matter that she had planned to enter the Capitol before the riot broke out.

“When the opportunity to enter the Capitol presented itself, she took it,” Gordon said. “It’s all that matters.”

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