HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS/AP) — A Harrisburg woman facing charges that she helped steal a laptop from the office of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi during the attack on the U.S. Capitol will be released from jail, a federal judge decided Thursday. U.S. Magistrate Judge Martin Carlson released Riley June Williams into the custody of her mother, with travel restrictions, and instructed her to appear Monday in federal court in Washington to continue her case.
Williams, 22, of Harrisburg, is accused of theft, obstruction and trespassing, as well as violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.READ MORE: 14-Year-Old Boy Injured In North Philadelphia Shooting, Police Say
During the hearing, Carlson said the “gravity of these offenses is great, it cannot be overstated.” But, he noted Williams has no prior criminal record.
The FBI says an unidentified former romantic partner of Williams tipped them off that she appeared in video from the Jan. 6 rioting and the tipster claimed she had hoped to sell the computer to Russian intelligence.
Video from the riot shows a woman matching Williams’ description exhorting invaders to go “upstairs, upstairs, upstairs” during the attack, which briefly disrupted certification of President Joe Biden’s electoral victory.
Williams’ attorney, federal public defender Lori Ulrich, declined comment on the case. Despite saying she wouldn’t be taken alive, Williams surrendered to face charges on Monday and has been locked up in the county jail in Harrisburg.
In adding the theft-related charges on Tuesday, a Virginia-based FBI agent said Williams was recorded on closed-circuit cameras in the Capitol going into and coming out of Pelosi’s office.
The agent’s affidavit said a cellphone video that was likely shot by Williams shows a man’s gloved hand lifting an HP laptop from a table, and the caption read, “they got the laptop.”
Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff, Drew Hammill, has said a laptop used only for presentations was taken from a conference room.READ MORE: Philadelphia Students Return To In-Person Learning Monday After Nearly A Year
Philadelphia defense attorney Bill Brennan spoke with Eyewitness News about the case. While his firm is representing some defendants who were outside the Capitol building, he is not involved in Williams’ prosecution.
“It’s not like she took the speaker’s lipstick tube, it’s her laptop,” Brennan said. “Look at the drama that former Secretary of State [Hillary] Clinton went through with regard to the use of a laptop, confidential secret information, protected information vis-à-vis emails and normal texts. Who knows what could be on that particular laptop if she did, in fact, take it. The item that she’s accused of taking is a very sensitive item. I’d rather have the podium guy than have her.”
A federal prosecutor earlier this week argued that Williams should not be released on bail pending trial, claiming she might flee or try to obstruct justice.
(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
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