Cleveland therapist eyed in Capitol riot gets FBI visit

FBI agents in the Cleveland area went to the home of a local school occupational therapist who resigned from the district after her alleged involvement in the riot and storming of the U.S. Capitol last week, according to reports.

Federal agents traveled to Christine Priola’s home on Friday, but did not appear to make any arrests, Spectrum News 1 in Cleveland reported.

Investigators from the U.S. Marshal Service, local police and the FBI searched Priola’s home, cars and the garage before leaving hours later with a plastic bag and multiple boxes, local news station WKYC reported.

Priola, 49, submitted a resignation letter to the Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CSMD) on Thursday after social media users linked her to photos taken of a violent mob loyal to President Trump who stormed the U.S. Capitol and forced lawmakers into hiding in an attempt to overturn the presidential election, according to The Associated Press.

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Several social media users have said they believe Priola is the blonde woman seen in a photo inside the Senate Chamber holding a sign and wearing a red jacket pointing at a man who is wearing a Trump flag. 

Her letter cited reasons for her departure related to switching career paths to focus on exposing human trafficking and pedophilia and not wanting to take a COVID-19 vaccine in order to return to in-person school. Priola has not publicly confirmed if she is the woman in the photo.

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The school district told the AP that officials believe in the right of any individual to peacefully protest, but condemn the actions taken by hundreds on Wednesday, when a violent mob stormed the U.S. Capitol Building.

“Questions raised today about a former CMSD employee’s alleged involvement in the riots at the U.S. Capitol this week have also raised questions about the District’s position on such behaviors,” a district spokesperson said, according to WKYC.

The spokesperson did not identify Priola as the employee in question. School officials would not speak to whether or not Priola was the woman in the photo when asked by Spectrum News.

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Priola could not be reached for comment when contacted by reporters. 

U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman, who oversaw the Northern District of Ohio before his last day on Friday, pledged on Twitter that those who were involved in the federal crimes on Capitol Hill “are going to be held accountable.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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