A Pennsylvania woman who is accused of being involved in the theft of a laptop from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office during the Capitol riot was released from federal custody to home confinement on Thursday.
Riley Williams, 22, of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, has been charged with violent entry or disorderly conduct, entering the restricted space of the Capitol, obstructing or impeding an official proceeding as well as aiding and abetting the theft of government property. She was arrested on Monday.
She will remain at home with electronic monitoring, is ordered not to communicate with possible co-defendants and has travel restrictions.
In an amended court filing, prosecutors allege that Williams appears to have filmed a gloved hand lifting a laptop off a table in the Capitol on January 6. Authorities do not allege that she stole the device.
“There is text across the video clip that reads: ‘they got the laptop.’ Given how loud Williams’ voice is, it seems likely that she was the one holding the cell phone camera,” an FBI special agent wrote in an affidavit, referring to a video seen by investigators.
Lori Ulrich, Williams’ attorney, said in court that the allegations brought forth against her client were by an ex-boyfriend and are “overstated.”
“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.”
Pelosi confirmed the laptop theft during an interview on MSNBC on Tuesday, calling it “a violation not only of my office but of my connection to my constituents.”
“That happened to be one that we use for Zooms and stuff like that, I think. I don’t know what other information could be on there, but that person doesn’t know, and they would jeopardize all kinds of information,” Pelosi said.
In announcing the decision to release Williams from federal custody on Thursday, Magistrate Judge Martin C. Carlson said she was being released “because the Constitution has prevailed” and blasted her alleged actions as “antithetical” to constitutional values.
“We know now that the mob failed and the Constitution prevailed. The Constitution prevailed … because Congress, stepping over the wreckage of its Capitol, met and confirmed with the vice president of the United States the vote of the Electoral College, setting the stage for the latest peaceful transition of power yesterday,” the judge said.