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Society

Woman Accused of Helping Steal Pelosi Laptop Freed From Jail

January 21, 2021

HARRISBURG, Pa. — A Pennsylvania woman facing charges that she helped steal a laptop from the office of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi during the attack on the U.S. Capitol will be released from jail, a federal judge decided Thursday.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Martin Carlson released Riley June Williams into the custody of her mother, with travel restrictions, and instructed her to appear Monday in federal court in Washington to continue her case. Williams, 22, of Harrisburg, is accused of theft, obstruction and trespassing, as well as violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.

During the hearing, Carlson said the "gravity of these offenses is great, it cannot be overstated." But, he noted Williams has no prior criminal record.

The FBI says an unidentified former romantic partner of Williams tipped them off that she appeared in video from the Jan. 6 rioting and the tipster claimed she had hoped to sell the computer to Russian intelligence.

Video from the riot shows a woman matching Williams' description exhorting invaders to go "upstairs, upstairs, upstairs" during the attack, which briefly disrupted certification of President Joe Biden's electoral victory.

Williams' attorney, federal public defender Lori Ulrich, declined comment on the case. Williams surrendered to face charges on Monday and has been locked up in the county jail in Harrisburg.

In adding the theft-related charges on Tuesday, a Virginia-based FBI agent said Williams was recorded on closed-circuit cameras in the Capitol going into and coming out of Pelosi's office.

The agent's affidavit said a cellphone video that was likely shot by Williams shows a man's gloved hand lifting an HP laptop from a table, and the caption read, "they got the laptop."

Pelosi's deputy chief of staff, Drew Hammill, has said a laptop used only for presentations was taken from a conference room.

A federal prosecutor earlier this week argued that Williams should not be released on bail pending trial, claiming she might flee or try to obstruct justice.

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