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Pennsylvania Woman Formally Charged With Stealing Nancy Pelosi's Laptop During Capitol Riot

Riley's former romantic partner told authorities that she planned “to send the computer device to a friend in Russia, who then planned to sell the device” to Russia’s foreign intelligence service, but the plans later fell through.

By Jill Sederstrom
Riley Williams Ap

A Pennsylvania woman has been formally charged with stealing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s laptop during the Capitol riots in January.

Riley Williams, 22, has been charged with stealing the laptop and resisting arrest in connection with the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol. She’s also facing six other felony and misdemeanor charges related to the violence that day, UPI reports.

Prosecutors had been trying to negotiate a plea deal with Williams—who was arrested in January—but when those negotiations broke down the government decided to proceed with a trial against her, CNN reports.

According to the FBI, Williams was captured in video footage storming the Capitol around 2 p.m. on Jan. 6 as the U.S. Congress was attempting to certify the 2020 Presidential election results.

Williams was identified as one of the participants after a former love interest saw footage of the riot and recognized the 22-year-old, who had been wearing a green shirt, brown trench coat and glasses.

She was allegedly captured in video footage directing others through the Capitol and helping to take a laptop off Pelosi’s desk.

Her former romantic partner told authorities that she “intended to send the computer device to a friend in Russia, who then planned to sell the device” to Russia’s foreign intelligence service, court documents allege.

According to that witness, the sale of the device fell through for “unknown reasons” and Williams either still had the computer or destroyed it.

Investigators recovered a short video allegedly showing a person holding a cell phone over the laptop as a female voice—believed to be Williams—is heard saying “Dude, put on gloves” before a man’s arm reaches for the laptop.

Authorities believe she had likely been filming the theft.

They also found posts on Discord from a user named “Riley” claiming to have stolen the item.

“I stole shit from Nancy Polesi [sic],” one message said.

“I took Polesis [sic] hard drives,” another read.

Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff Drew Hammill later confirmed on Twitter that a laptop had been stolen from the conference room but said it “was only used for presentations.”

Williams’ father told authorities he had attended the riot with his daughter, but she had planned to meet up with another group and he lost track of her. He said he met up with her later outside the Capitol Building and they returned to their home in Pennsylvania, authorities said.

Williams surrendered to authorities in January after a warrant was issued for her arrest.

At the time, her attorney Lori Ulrich said in court that the allegations against Williams had been “overstated,” CNN reported.

"It is regrettable that Ms. Williams took the President's bait and went inside the Capitol. However, based on our initial investigation and preparation for today, it is our position that the allegations surrounding the theft of Speaker Pelosi's computer came in part from a former abusive boyfriend," Ulrich said. "He has threatened Ms. Williams in a number of ways."

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