WASHINGTON — A federal judge on Monday ordered Riley Williams, a 23-year-old right-wing extremist, taken into federal custody after a jury convicted her on six of the eight counts she faced in connection with the Jan. 6 attack.
Williams was found guilty on six counts, but the jury deadlocked on two others, including whether she aided and abetted the theft of a laptop in the office of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Williams, a follower of the “Groyper” movement, stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, filming rioters breaking into the building, then encouraged members of the mob up a set of stairs toward House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office. She also pushed up against cops and tried to organize other rioters inside the Capitol rotunda.
Williams had faced a total of eight charges: civil disorder, obstruction of an official proceeding, resisting and impeding officers, aiding and abetting theft of government property, and four misdemeanors.
Jurors found her guilty of civil disorder, resisting and impeding officers, and four other misdemeanors. But they deadlocked on obstruction of an official proceeding — a charge which would have carried the lengthiest potential sentence — and the charge of aiding and abetting the theft of Pelosi’s laptop.
Judge Amy Berman Jackson said she had “no confidence whatsoever” that Williams had respect for the rule of law, and granted a government request for Williams to be detained until her sentencing.
“The defendant will be remanded,” Jackson said.
Williams, who showed little emotion when the jury returned its verdict, was clearly upset by Jackson’s decision to lock her up. As she was taken into custody, Williams, who was wearing an outfit that resembled a school uniform, removed her tie and gave her pink purse to her lawyer, who handed it to a male companion in the court gallery. “F—,” Williams appeared to mouth to the man. “I’m sorry.”
Most of Williams’ actions weren’t really in dispute. But the government and defense differed on what charges Williams was guilty of. Her defense attorney conceded to the jury that Williams was guilty of two misdemeanor charges she faced, but argued that she did not assist in the theft of Pelosi’s laptop by verbally urging others to take the laptop and telling a man to use gloves when he handled it.
Prosecutors had extensive evidence of Williams inside the Capitol, including photos that show her pushing other rioters toward a police line and pushing against police officers herself. They also had evidence of her online communications, where she bragged about her activities on Jan. 6.
After leaving the Capitol that day, Williams climbed on top of a police vehicle parked on the east side of the building.
Williams’ federal public defenders argued that while Williams had “distasteful” beliefs, she came to D.C. with nothing but her “cell phone and her fuzzy zebra bag,” and that Williams bragged about her acts because she “wanted to be somebody.”
About 900 people have been arrested in connection with the U.S. Capitol attack, with hundreds more arrests in the works. The Justice Department is pressing Congress for more funds to help bring Capitol attack cases to fruition.