NewsChaos in the Capitol


Prosecutors ask for continuance in case against CMSD staffer allegedly involved in Capitol attack

Capitol riots
Posted at 5:15 PM, Apr 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-09 17:15:46-04

CLEVELAND — Federal prosecutors asked for a 60-day continuance Thursday in a case involving a former CMSD occupational therapist and her alleged involvement in the U.S. Capitol attack in January.

According to court records, Christine Priola is charged via criminal complaint with knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority, violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds and unlawful activities on Capitol grounds, parades, assemblages and display of flags.

RELATED: CMSD staffer who resigned last week has been charged for her involvement in U.S. Capitol riots

The motion that was filed—an exclusion for a speedy trial—was granted on Friday. Federal authorities filed the motion because of the amount of evidence relating to the Capitol attack that has been gathered and that needs to be reviewed, court records state.

According to the motion, "the investigation and prosecution of the Capitol attack will likely be one of the largest in American history, both in terms of the number of defendants prosecuted and the nature and volume of the evidence."

In total, more than 900 search warrants across nearly all 50 states have been executed. Investigations have been conducted by local and federal authorities from multiple jurisdictions and agencies such as the U.S. Capitol Police, FBI, Homeland Security, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and others.

In the time since the attack occurred on Jan. 6, investigators have gathered more than 15,000 hours of surveillance and body camera footage, received more than 210,000 tips—which also include video, photos and social media posts—and over 80,000 reports and nearly a 100,000 attachments regarding suspect interviews and witness statements. Additionally, more than 1,600 electronic devices have been accumulated, court records state.

"As the Capitol attack investigation is still ongoing, the number of defendants charged and the volume of potentially discoverable materials will only continue to grow. In short, even in cases involving a single defendant, the volume of discoverable materials is likely to be significant," federal prosecutors said.

According to the motion, the evidence specifically regarding Priola's case is being reviewed by a team for any attorney-client privileged communication, which in turn will "likely will delay production of discovery to the defense of this evidence, which includes the results of various search warrants."

Federal authorities wrote in the motion that rushing the case and proceeding without a continuance would "result in a miscarriage of justice," and "the ends of justice served by granting a request for a continuance outweigh the best interest of the public and the defendant in a speedy trial."

Priola was arrested a week after federal agents entered her home in Willoughby with evidence boxes and searched her house and garage. She was allegedly identified in a photograph that showed her at the Senate President's desk in the Capitol.

A warrant states that FBI agents recovered a laptop, two desktop computers, several thumb drives, an iPhone, clothing, a sign and other materials consistent with the photos taken of Priola on Jan. 6.

RELATED: Federal agents at home of CMSD staffer who resigned

Agents searched Priola's phone and were unable to recover photos, videos, chats or messages from Jan. 4 to Jan. 7, but they did recover location data showing the device was just northeast of the U.S. Capitol at 4:23 p.m. on Jan. 6.

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