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Former Ohio school employee seen in the Senate chamber on Jan. 6 pleads guilty

Christine Priola, 50, could be sentenced to more than a year in prison based on sentencing guidelines, but a judge will make the final determination.
Congress Holds Joint Session To Ratify 2020 Presidential Election
Christine Priola, a former occupational therapist for the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, right, in the Senate Chamber on Jan. 6, 2021 after a mob stormed the Capitol.Win McNamee / Getty Images file

A former Ohio school district employee who entered the Senate chambers during the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol pleaded guilty to a felony Tuesday that could result in over a year in prison, according to prosecutors and court documents.

A judge will determine the sentence for Christine Priola, 50, but a plea agreement says an estimated sentence guidelines range is between 15 and 21 months.

Priola, of Willoughby, pleaded guilty Tuesday to one count of obstruction of an official proceeding, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia said in a statement.

She was photographed in the Senate chambers on Jan. 6, 2021, after it was evacuated following the attack on the Capitol by a mob of supporters of then-President Donald Trump.

An attorney for Priola did not immediately respond to a request for comment early Wednesday.

Sentencing was scheduled for Oct. 28. The charge she pleaded guilty to carries a maximum sentence of 20 years.

The mob of Trump supporters attacked the Capitol as Congress was formally counting the electoral votes in the 2020 presidential election, which Trump lost. Congress later returned and concluded the count hours later.  

Capitol police officers were beaten and sprayed with chemical irritants during the mayhem, and the rampage caused more than $1.4 million in damages, officials said.

The violence at the Capitol was preceded by weeks of falsehoods about the 2020 election. Then-Vice President Mike Pence refused to halt the electoral vote counting or to reject states’ votes. Pence has said he had no right to do so.

Priola is not accused of assaulting anyone. She was in the Senate chamber for around 10 minutes, and was photographed near Pence’s desk in the Senate chamber. She had been an occupational therapist with the Cleveland Metropolitan School District but resigned on Jan. 7, 2021.