Federal authorities have obtained an arrest warrant for a Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, woman they suspect may have stolen House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s laptop during the Jan. 6 Capitol siege with the intent of selling the device to Russia’s foreign intelligence services.
In an affidavit filed late Sunday evening, agents said they were contacted by the former romantic partner of Riley June Williams, 22, who recognized her in footage shot during the insurrectionist attack by the British network ITV.
Williams’ ex also reported having seen other video showing Williams pocketing the computer from Pelosi’s office and told investigators that Williams had said she intended to send it to a friend in Russia who would arrange the transfer to the SVR, the Russian equivalent of the CIA.
That deal fell through, Williams’ former partner told FBI agents according to the affidavit, and the laptop remains in her possession.
By the time investigators tracked Williams down to the apartment she shares with her mother in Harrisburg, she had already fled, the affidavit states.
Williams’ mother told agents that the day before an ITV news crew showed up at her door looking for her daughter. In a segment that aired on the network Sunday, she confirmed for reporters that her daughter was the woman seen in earlier footage of the Capitol attack, directing other insurrectionists inside the Capitol rotunda toward a staircase lading to Pelosi’s office.
Dressed in a green T-shirt, glasses and a brown coat with a zebra print bag slung over her shoulder, a woman agents identified as Williams can be seen shouting “Up the stairs! Go!” repeatedly as she pushes rioters toward onward.
But as people began to recognize her the earlier videos of the Capitol attack, she fled without saying where she was going, her mother told ITV.
“She’s actually gone,” she said. “She took off not only because of that ,” she said. “She figures if it’s out there, they’ll [the FBI] come to her about it.”
Williams’ mother described her daughter as a very “empathetic and loving person” who had taken a sudden interest in President Donald Trump’s politics and far-right message boards in recent months.
Still, her mother insisted, Williams rarely talked about her politics. “It’s all about wanting America to get the correct information,” she said.
According to the FBI affidavit, Williams drove to Washington on Jan. 6 with her father, a Camp Hill resident, to attend the “Stop the Steal” rally but split up during the day. They reunited after police had cleared the Capitol that evening and drove back to Harrisburg the same day.
Williams’ alleged role in the theft of Pelosi’s laptop remains under investigation. At the moment, she is charged only with unlawfully entering Capitol grounds and disorderly conduct.
However, Pelosi’s chief of staff, Drew Hammill, confirmed on Twitter in the days after the attack that a laptop, primarily used for presentations, had been stolen from a conference room in the House speaker’s office.
So far, agents have charged more than 152 accused rioters in the nearly two weeks since the Capitol attack, including three other Pennsylvania residents.
They include Terry Brown, a retired code enforcement officer from Lebanon County, and Andrew Wrigley, a former Center City artist who recently moved to Jim Thorpe, Pa. Both men face charges including unlawfully entering the Capitol grounds.
The third man, Robert Sanford, a retired Chester firefighter, is accused of throwing a fire extinguisher that injured three Capitol Police officers during a melee on the buildings steps.