HARRISBURG, Pa. — A 22-year-old from Pennsylvania was charged Tuesday with helping to steal a laptop from the office of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) during the storming of the U.S. Capitol, one of two new alleged felonies for which the defendant could face decades in prison.

The FBI says Riley June Williams appears to have filmed and then shared a video of another person lifting an HP computer off a desk, according to an updated affidavit posted Tuesday night. The affidavit links to images of all-caps, typo-riddled social media posts from a user named “Riley” who declares that they “STOLE S — T FROM NANCY POLESI.”



A federal prosecutor argued earlier in the day at a court hearing that Williams should not be released from custody. With felony charges not yet filed and Williams’s mother in attendance, the judge set a detention hearing for Thursday morning in what he called a “fast-moving case of national import.”

Williams surrendered to authorities on Monday, a day after she was charged in the Jan. 6 storming of the Capitol, officials said. A pretrial services report had recommended Williams’s release, but the government contends Williams presents a flight risk and could obstruct or try to obstruct justice.

A public defender appointed to represent Williams, Lori Ulrich, argued for release and said in court that many of the allegations lodged against her client “are false.”

Williams was initially charged with trespassing as well as violent entry to and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds. On Tuesday, authorities added new charges: aiding or abetting the theft of government property and obstructing, influencing or impeding an official proceeding.

Key to the FBI’s investigation was a person who claimed to be Williams’s “former romantic partner,” identified only as W1 in court filings. W1 told the FBI that friends of Williams played a video of her stealing a hard drive or computer from Pelosi’s office, and 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,” court documents state.

Capitol Police confirmed that an HP laptop was stolen from the speaker’s office, the FBI said. Drew Hammill, deputy chief of staff for Pelosi, said Jan. 8 that a laptop “only used for presentations” was taken from a conference room.

Hammill did not respond to questions from The Washington Post.

Law enforcement soon obtained video clips that W1 said were recorded and live-streamed by Williams, then captured by a friend, according to the amended affidavit filed Tuesday. One four-second video captures a female voice — which an agent believes to be Williams — saying “Dude, put on gloves,” before a black-gloved hand takes a computer from a table. A caption across the clip says, “they got the laptop.”

“Given how loud Williams’ voice is, it seems likely that she was the one holding the cell phone camera,” the agent writes.

The affidavit then cites the posts from “Riley” on Discord, a social media platform that W1 said Williams frequented, according to law enforcement.

Williams can also be seen in an ITV News video posted to YouTube, taken from inside the Capitol, wearing a green T-shirt and a brown trench coat with a zebra-print bag, directing rioters up a staircase toward Pelosi’s office, the FBI said.

The woman in the green shirt can be seen pushing people forward amid a crowd toting flags and wearing “Make America Great Again” hats.

“Up the stairs! Up the stairs!” she yells. “Go! Go!”

Supporters of President Trump crossed barricades and began marching toward the back of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. (The Washington Post)

Since the riot, Williams has changed her phone number, the FBI said, and deleted her social media accounts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Reddit, Telegram and Parler.

The FBI agent said police in Harrisburg confirmed with Williams’s father, of Camp Hill, Pa., that the pair drove to Washington for the Jan. 6 demonstration and then back home but did not stay together during the event.

On Jan. 11, law enforcement in Harrisburg also went to the home Williams shares with her mother after receiving the mother’s “suspicious persons report.” The affidavit says without providing further explanation that, per Williams’s mother, “the suspicious person was assumed to be W1.”

With officers observing, the mother video-called Williams — who could be seen wearing a brown jacket consistent with images from the Capitol, the FBI said.

Within days, British media arrived at the home looking for Williams and spoke with the mother, according to court documents. ITV News said its reporter spoke with the mother, in an interview captured on video.

“That’s her, that’s my daughter,” the mother said through a barely cracked door.

“I’m very unhappy,” she said. “I’m sad that that happened to her, that she was actually inside. That’s what the video shows, you know.”

She says her daughter “took off” before police or the FBI contacted her, according to ITV News. The mother told the news outlet that Williams went to rallies and had grown suddenly interested in President Trump’s politics and “far-right message boards,” in statements also cited by the FBI.

Williams’s mother, Wendy, sat quietly in the back of the courtroom during Tuesday’s hearing. In the hall before the session, she told a reporter, “I’m not supposed to be talking to anybody.”

As the defendant turned to walk out of court in a tan uniform, her mother took a step toward her.

“I love you,” she said, and Williams looked at her.

“Don’t be sad,” Williams said.

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