CLEVELAND (WJW) – A former occupational therapist for the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, who admitted storming the Capitol on January 6th, 2021, is asking a judge for mercy when she is punished.
Christine Priola wrote a lengthy letter to the federal judge before she faces sentencing in Washington today. Priola sent a 10-page typed letter to the U.S. District judge who will sentence her on a charge of obstruction of an official proceeding and aiding and abetting.
In her letter, Priola apologizes for her actions and says she regrets embarrassing her family and causing the people impacted, so much suffering.
***Read the full letter in the court filing below***
“Why don’t you guys do a story about the children? Why don’t you guys do something good, report on the good,” Priola told FOX 8 when we caught up with her outside her now-former home in Willoughby last year.
It was soon after FBI agents searched it, days following the January 6th U.S. Capitol insurrection. Since then, she pleaded guilty to a felony count of obstructing an official proceeding, clearly seen in a photo on the floor of the U.S. Senate.
“Go find the children, look into the human trafficking, look into the pedophilia,” she continued to proclaim that day.
In a ten-page letter, dated October 13th, Priola admits that she entered the Capitol building illegally.
She writes, “I should have never been in the building in the first place.”
The 50-year-old Priola goes on to say, “I used to think, ‘I wish that I had food poisoning that day,’ or, ‘I wish that I had a broken leg that day.’ If I had been sick or hurt then I would not have been able to travel to D.C and I would have avoided committing a crime.”
Priola states she got wrapped up in the crowd and did not initially intend to enter the Senate Chamber, adding, “Words will not make up for my actions….my behavior was unacceptable, illegal and shameful.”
The former occupational therapist for the Cleveland Metropolitan School District told the judge she has already begun paying restitution. She has tried to do as many good deeds as possible, such as picking up garbage from sidewalks, cleaning public bathrooms and starting a prayer group at church.
Priola acknowledged she will spend time behind bars and says while incarcerated, she wants to continue learning to be a court reporter and would like to be one or have a similar job once she’s released.
She told the judge she doesn’t like when other people break the law or act like morons, adding “I was one of those morons.”
Near the end of the letter, Priola writes, “I am truly sorry for all those who were hurt that day, especially those who died. I hope someday they can forgive me.”
Priola’s mother, 21-year-old daughter and aunt also wrote letters to the judge. Federal prosecutors are asking the judge to sentence Christine Priola to 18 months in prison, which they say is in the middle of the guideline range, three years of supervised release and $2,000 in restitution.
Defense attorneys say Priola only wanted to protest and did not intend to confront congressional leaders. They are asking for a sentence under 15 months and a short term of probation.