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Prosecutors: Suspected Pelosi laptop thief trying to delete evidence


  • Riley June Williams, 22, is suspected of stealing Nancy Pelosi’s laptop during the Capitol riot.
  • Prosecutors said Monday that Williams has been trying to cover her tracks while on house arrest. 
  • They reportedly asked that her internet access be cut off. The judge has yet to rule on the request. 
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Department of Justice prosecutors have accused Riley June Williams, the 22-year-old woman suspected of stealing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s laptop during the Capitol riot, of trying to cover up her tracks by deleting her social-media activity, according to Law & Crime and NBC 4 reporter Scott MacFarlane.

In a Monday court hearing, prosecutors also said Williams has been telling others to delete messages she had sent them, according to WHTM.

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Williams in her driver’s license photo, as released by the FBI.

FBI affidavit

Prosecutors are now asking that Williams be cut off the internet while she’s under house arrest, according to the reports.

The judge has yet to make a decision on the matter because Monday’s hearing had to end abruptly due to a scheduling conflict with Williams’ new public defender, Law & Crime reported. The hearing is set to continue on Tuesday. 

Before Monday’s hearing ended, US Magistrate Judge Zia Faruqui called the allegations “extremely troubling” and asked why prosecutors weren’t asking for Williams to be detained again, Law & Crime reported. 

Williams was arrested last Monday, and was released from detention and placed in her mother’s custody at their home in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, on Thursday. According to an FBI affidavit, prior to the arrest Williams had changed her phone number and deleted social-media accounts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Reddit, Telegram, and Parler.

Williams currently stands accused of four charges: knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority; violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds; aiding and abetting others to embezzle, steal, or purloin; and obstructing, influencing, or impeding any official proceeding. 

According to the criminal complaint, an ex of Williams called the FBI’s tip line in the days after the Capitol riot, saying he had seen Williams in a video directing crowds inside the Capitol during the breach.

The informant also said that friends of Williams showed him another video appearing to show Williams taking a laptop and hard drive from Pelosi’s office.

nancy pelosi

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at a press conference on January 21, 2021.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The informant said that Williams “intended to send the computer device to a friend in Russia, who then planned to sell the device to the SVR, Russia’s foreign intelligence service,” according to the complaint. 

Read more: What the Democratic-majority Senate means for climate change, gun control, and stimulus checks

However, the informant said that “the transfer of the computer device to Russia fell through for unknown reasons and Williams still has the computer device or destroyed it,” the complaint states, adding that the matter “remains under investigation.” The laptop’s whereabouts are still unknown.

In an interview with MSNBC last week, Pelosi said that she wasn’t concerned about the theft of that laptop, saying she believes it was only used for Zoom meetings. Her deputy chief of staff previously said the laptop was used only for presentations.

Williams’ previous public defender blamed her client’s participation in the riot on then-President Donald Trump.

“It is regrettable that Ms. Williams took the president’s bait and went inside the Capitol,” attorney Lori Ulrich said, according to NBC Philadelphia.

Read the full criminal complaint against Williams here»

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