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The 22-year-old accused of stealing Pelosi's laptop and planning to sell it to Russia has been given new charges that could see her jailed for 20 years

Bill Bostock
·4 min read
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  • Riley June Williams is accused of stealing Nancy Pelosi's laptop and trying to sell it to Russia.

  • The Justice Department charged her with breaking into the Capitol, and a new charge was added after a tip.

  • The laptop's whereabouts is still unknown. A Pelosi aide had said it was used for presentations only.

  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The 22-year-old woman accused of stealing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's laptop and planning to sell it to Russian spies has been slapped with new charges that could see her spend 20 years in jail.

The Justice Department had initially charged Riley June Williams on Sunday with entering a restricted building and disorderly conduct in relation to the January 6 Capitol riot.

But in a Tuesday court appearance US Attorney Christian Haughsby also charged Williams with theft of government property and obstruction, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

If Williams is found guilty of those charges, she could be sentenced to 20 years in jail, The Inquirer added.

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Riley June Williams seen in a booking photograph obtained from the Dauphin County Prison in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, on Tuesday. Dauphin County Prison/Handout via Reuters

Haughsby did not say whether Williams intended to sell the laptop to Russia. The FBI had previously said in a Sunday affidavit that a witness identifying as Williams' former romantic partner told authorities that Williams planned to give the laptop to a friend in Russia, who would then try to sell the device to the country's intelligence service.

In a Tuesday update to the affidavit, an unnamed FBI agent said that security tape from inside the Capitol showed Williams entering and exiting Pelosi's office.

The agent added that a person with the username "Riley" posted on the message board site Discord: "I STOLE S--- FROM NANCY POLESI" and "I DOMT CARE I TOOK NANCY POLESIS HARD DRIVES I DONT CARE KILL ME."

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Screenshots from Discord showing a person named "Riley" posting about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's laptop. Justice Department

The location of the laptop, identified by the FBI agent as a Hewlett-Packard device, remains unknown.

Drew Hammill, deputy chief of staff to Pelosi, said on January 8 that the laptop was "only used for presentations."

According to the FBI's Sunday affidavit, Williams packed a bag and left her mother's home in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, some time after the Capitol riot and deleted a number of social-media accounts.

Williams was arrested in Pennsylvania on Monday, the DOJ said. CNN reported that Williams had turned herself in.

Read more: 'It was degrading': Black Capitol custodial staff talk about what it felt like to clean up the mess left by violent pro-Trump white supremacists

The FBI began investigating whether Williams stole the laptop after receiving a tip from a person identifying themselves as Williams' former romantic partner.

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A pro-Trump mob seen after breaching the Capitol building on January 6. John Minchillo/AP

The person called the FBI and said they had seen a video of Williams taking the laptop, and that she intended to sell it to Russia's intelligence agency, the FBI said.

But the transfer of the laptop to Russia "fell through for unknown reasons and Williams still has the computer device or destroyed it," the FBI wrote in its Sunday and Tuesday statement of facts, citing the testimony of the tipster.

"This matter remains under investigation," the FBI added.

Williams' attorney, Lori J. Ulrich, told The Inquirer: "A lot of these allegations are false," without specifying what allegations she was referring to.

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A Trump supporter sits inside Pelosi's office during the Capitol riot on January 6, 2021. SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

In footage from the January 6 riot captured by Britain's ITV News, Williams appeared to be one of the rioters guiding others toward Pelosi's office, indicating she may have been central to the organization of the raid.

The FBI said that a woman wearing a green shirt and brown trench coat and carrying a zebra-print bag over her shoulders appeared to be Williams.

Williams' mother told ITV News in a subsequent interview that her daughter had become involved in "far-right message boards" and frequently attended "rallies" about "wanting America to get the correct information."

Williams' next hearing is scheduled for January 21.

She graduated from Mechanicsburg Area Senior High in 2017 and worked for the healthcare agency Keystone Human Services, the Inquirer said. The company has since fired Williams, ABC 27 reported Tuesday.

Read the original article on Business Insider