During the deadly Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 22-year-old Harrisburg, Pennsylvania woman Riley June Williams actively participated and entered the building. An FBI affidavit for her arrest on other charges also cites her possible theft of a laptop belonging to an aide of House Speaker Nancy P. Pelosi. A witness claims she conspired to sell it to Russian intelligence.
Williams was captured on video in multiple locations on or near the Capitol grounds. FBI Special Agent Jonathan Lund of the Cyber Crime section cites video footage that “depicted evidence of violations of local and federal law, including scores of individuals inside the U.S. Capitol building without authority to be there.”
A witness claiming to be Williams’ “former romantic partner” called authorities several times in the days following the Capitol attack. The caller recognized Williams in video recorded inside the Capitol building during the insurrection, where she was seen directing crowds up a staircase in an area identified as “The Crypt.” Lund identified the staircase as leading to Pelosi’s office. Williams is depicted repeatedly yelling, ““Upstairs, upstairs, upstairs,” and can be seen physically directing other intruders to proceed up a staircase,” according to the affidavit.
FBI is investigating claims a pro-Trump supporter involved in the Capitol siege – and identified by ITV News – tried to sell a stolen computer to Russia, Global Security Editor @RohitKachrooITV
has learned https://t.co/e71166PDBG
— ITV News (@itvnews) January 18, 2021
The witness was also shown a video of the suspect taking a laptop computer or hard drive from Pelosi’s office. The witness told authorities that Williams was in touch with a friend in Russia, where she intended to send the laptop. The individual alleged that the Russian contact would then attempt to sell the device to Russia’s foreign intelligence service.
Apparently, transfer of the device to the alleged Russian contact fell through, and it is likely that Williams retained possession of the stolen computer. Whether she kept it or has discarded it is still under investigation.
The suspect’s mother, Wendy Williams, filed a suspicious persons report on Jan. 11 with police in regard to the aforementioned witness. When Harrisburg police spoke to the mother, Williams was not present.
Harrisburg police spoke with her mother again on Jan. 16, when she confirmed a crew from Britain’s ITV media — which posted the Youtube video — visited Williams’ home the previous night and showed her the footage. Her mother identified her as the woman in the Capitol video, and told them that Williams “took off” but had taken a sudden interest in “President Trump’s politics” and “far-right message boards.”
Police reached Williams’ father in Camp Hill, Pa., on Jan. 16. He confirmed that they did drive to Washington, D.C., and the protest together, but she left him at one point during the day to “meet people she knew at the protest.” According to the affidavit, she later rejoined him outside the U.S. Capitol building to ride home to Harrisburg together.
The FBI determined that Williams did flee, after packing a bag and telling her mother she would be gone “for a couple of weeks” with no destination given. She changed phone numbers and deleted her social media accounts, including one that was on the social media service Parler.
Williams remains charged with engaging “in disorderly or disruptive conduct, at any place in the Grounds or in any of the Capitol Buildings with the intent to impede, disrupt, or disturb the orderly conduct of a session of Congress,” among other charges.
As yet, charges have not been filed in regard to the theft of the laptop and possibility of conspiring to turn over government property to a foreign entity. Pelosi’s chief of staff Drew Hammill said that a laptop “used only for presentations” was taken from a conference room. It is still in question whether the laptop Hammill referenced is the same as that allegedly stolen by Williams, and what its contents may be.
The information on the laptop and evidence of conspiracy to sell it to Russia would determine the severity of any further charges.
(Edited by David Martosko and Kristen Butler)
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