Capitol Hill Insurrectionist Who Stole Nancy Pelosi’s Laptop Has Been Released From Jail
Riley Williams was caught on camera participating in the violent attack.
January 22, 2021 at 10:03 pm
Many online were outraged on Thursday when The Associated Press reported that Riley Williams, the woman accused by federal authorities of taking part in the attack on Congress and stealing a laptop from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office, was released from jail in Pennsylvania.
In a lengthy statement released last week, the FBI said they had spoken to a "former romantic partner" of the 22-year-old who “stated that Williams intended to send the computer device to a friend in Russia, who then planned to sell the device to SVR, Russia’s foreign intelligence service.… the transfer... to Russia fell through for unknown reasons.”
Williams was caught on camera participating in the violent attack on the Capitol Building that resulted in six deaths and the desecration of the building.
FBI on Pelosi laptop stolen from #Capitol:— Ryan Goodman (@rgoodlaw) January 18, 2021
Witness “stated that Williams intended to send the computer device to a friend in Russia, who then planned to sell the device to SVR, Russia’s foreign intelligence service.… the transfer...to Russia fell through for unknown reasons.” pic.twitter.com/nlyuUpowm0
As more information has come out about the attack, federal authorities have made it clear that many among the hundreds of rioters intended to kidnap and kill members of Congress. Senators and House members were evacuated to secure rooms just minutes before the attackers made their way to the floors of Congress with zip-tie handcuffs, heavy arms and pipe bombs.
In the FBI notice about Williams, they noted that she was on the run. She was eventually captured on Monday, according to NPR.
That’s Riley June Williams in green, directing terrorists during the insurrection. Did Lauren Boebert give Riley a tour of the Capitol, incl. directions to Nancy Pelosi’s office? FBI suspects Williams stole Pelosi’s laptop, intending to sell it to Russia.pic.twitter.com/HYzjuDLfb3— Stephanie Kennedy (@WordswithSteph) January 18, 2021
But, on Thursday, despite being charged with theft, trespassing, disorderly conduct and other charges, U.S. Magistrate Judge Martin Carlson released Williams into the custody of her mother, according to The Associated Press.
Carlson provided multiple excuses for releasing Williams, including her age and the fact that she had no prior criminal record.
“The gravity of these offenses is great. It cannot be overstated,” he said, despite allowing her to walk free.
Carlson put travel restrictions on Williams and said she had to appear in federal court in Washington, D.C., on Monday.
Despite video of Williams leading rioters up the stairs in the Capitol Building and directing them to Pelosi's office to do damage, her lawyer said the charges against her were overstated and that the witness who spoke to the FBI was an ex-boyfriend who abused her.
“It is regrettable that Ms. Williams took the president’s bait and went inside the Capitol,” her lawyer said in court.
The FBI has not said where the laptop is now but Pelosi's staff has said it was used for presentations. The FBI affidavit said they had video of Williams in Pelosi's office with people taking the laptop, according to The Associated Press.
They also had posts Williams made on social media that said, "STOLE S — T FROM NANCY POLESI. I TOOK HER GRAVEL HAMMER TBING” one post said.
“I DON'T CARE I TOOK NANCY POLESIS HARD DRIVES. I DON’T CARE KILL ME," she said in another post, according to The Washington Post.
Federal authorities asked the judge not to release her but Carlson ignored their request.