WASHINGTON — An Ohio woman pleaded guilty today to a felony charge for her actions during the breach of the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. Her actions and the actions of others disrupted a joint session of Congress American convened to determine and count the electoral votes related to the presidential election.
Christine Priola, 50, of Willoughby, Ohio, pleaded guilty in the District of Columbia to obstruction of official process. According to court documents, on January 6, 2021, Priola walked onto the grounds of the United States Capitol, carrying a large sign expressing her views. Once on the ground, she illegally entered the restricted area on the east side of the Capitol Building.
Priola joined the front lines of the riot, climbed the steps, and entered the Capitol building through the east rotunda doors. She went inside shortly after the first rioters defeated law enforcement officers guarding the entrance. She moved to the Senate Chamber and entered the restricted area. While in the bedroom, she wore the sign. She was in the Senate chamber for about 10 minutes. In total, she was inside the Capitol building for about 30 minutes.
Between January 6 and January 12, 2021, Priola deleted her cell phone data for photos, videos, chats and messages from around January 4 to January 7, 2021. At the time of the riots, she worked for the Cleveland Metropolitan School District. She resigned in a letter dated January 7, 2021.
Priola was arrested in Ohio on January 14, 2021. She is due to be sentenced on October 28, 2022. She faces a legal maximum of 20 years in prison and possible financial penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering US sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the National Security Division of the Department of Justice are pursuing the case, with valuable assistance from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Ohio.
The FBI Field Office in Cleveland investigated the case, with valuable assistance from the U.S. Marshals Service for the Northern District of Ohio, FBI Field Office in Washington, State Capitol Police United States and the Metropolitan Police Department.
In the 18 months since Jan. 6, 2021, more than 850 people have been arrested in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol, including more than 260 people charged with assaulting or obstructing the ‘law application. The investigation is still ongoing. Anyone with tips can call 1-800-CALL-FBI (800-225-5324) or visit tips.fbi.gov.