Ohio Woman, Christine Priola Pleads Guilty to Felony Charge for Actions in Jan. 6 Capitol Breach
Defendant Illegally Entered Senate Chamber
An Ohio woman pleaded guilty today to a felony charge for her actions during the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Her actions and the actions of others disrupted a joint session of the U.S. Congress convened to ascertain 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 an official proceeding. According to court documents, on Jan. 6, 2021, Priola made her way to the U.S. Capitol grounds, carrying a large sign expressing her views. Once on the grounds, 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 soon after the first rioters overcame law enforcement officers guarding the entrance.
She moved to the Senate chamber and entered the restricted floor area. While in the chamber, she carried the sign. She was in the Senate chamber for about 10 minutes. All told, she was inside the Capitol Building for approximately 30 minutes.
Sometime between Jan. 6 and Jan. 12, 2021, Priola deleted from her cellphone data for photos, videos, chats, and messages from approximately Jan. 4 through Jan. 7, 2021. At the time of the riots, she was employed with the Cleveland Metropolitan School District. She resigned in a letter dated Jan. 7, 2021.
Priola was arrested in Ohio on Jan. 14, 2021. She is to be sentenced on Oct. 28, 2022. She faces a statutory maximum of 20 years in prison and potential financial penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the Justice Department’s National Security Division are prosecuting the case, with valuable assistance provided by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Ohio.
The FBI’s Cleveland Field Office investigated the case, with valuable assistance from the U.S. Marshals Service for the Northern District of Ohio, the FBI’s Washington Field Office, the U.S. Capitol Police, and the Metropolitan Police Department
In the 18 months since Jan. 6, 2021, more than 850 individuals have been arrested in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol, including over 260 individuals charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement.