What happened to Nancy Pelosi’s Laptop?
The Woman Accused of Stealing Pelosi’s Laptop Says She Doesn’t Have It
Riley June Williams’ lawyer says the allegations against her are all lies told by a vengeful ex.
After a long hearing in federal court in Washington, DC, on Tuesday, the case of Riley June Williams — a 22-year-old Pennsylvania woman accused of stealing, or helping to steal, a laptop from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office and sell it to Russia’s foreign intelligence service — is more confusing than ever.
According to a statement of facts compiled by the FBI, a “former romantic partner” of Williams called the agency and alleged that Williams took the laptop during the storming of the US Capitol and “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.” The FBI added that the tipster said the sale fell through for “unknown reasons” and that Williams either still has the device or destroyed it. (Pelosi’s office has confirmed the laptop is missing, though one of her staffers tweeted two days after the insurrection that it was “only used for presentations.”)
But during the hearing Tuesday, the purpose of which was to set the conditions of her house arrest, her defense attorney, federal public defender A.J. Kramer, argued that Williams’ house and her car had been searched, and she did not have the laptop.
“In the allegation of the theft of the computer, she’s charged with aiding and abetting, not the actual theft itself,” Kramer said during the hearing. “In fact, [law enforcement] searched everywhere, and she does not have the computer. They searched the car and the house.”
Following the hearing, Kramer told BuzzFeed News over the phone that Williams denies all of the accusations made against her — from the theft itself, including aiding or encouraging the theft, to the allegations of attempting to sell it to Russia — and alleged that they were all lies all made up by an ex who, as he said in the hearing, “vowed revenge on Williams for various things.” Williams has filed for a restraining order against that ex, Kramer added.
Kramer added that he “thinks” that Williams never had the laptop at all.
The FBI affidavit, however, includes screenshots of what appears to be Williams’ account on the social media platform Discord (which was one of the services used to organize the Jan. 6 protests and insurrection), writing, “I STOLE SHIT FROM NANCY POLESI [sic]” and “I DOMT CARE I TOOK NANCY POLESIS HARD DRIVES I DONT CARE KILL ME.” The document also contains several screenshots and descriptions of videos taken during the insurrection, apparently showing Williams in the Capitol, egging on other rioters and apparently directing the crowd up the stairs toward Pelosi’s office.
Screenshots of a video that tipsters told the FBI Williams livestreamed on her own social media account show the hands of people in the process of taking a laptop from a congressional desk. The FBI agent writing the affidavit says that the video appears to show Williams telling a man reaching for the computer to “put on gloves” and that writing over the video says “they got the laptop.”
The complaint against Williams in the US District Court for the District of Columbia charges Williams on four counts, including aiding and abetting “others to, embezzle, steal, purloin” government property in excess of $6,000, along with the unlawfully entering and disorderly conduct charges that many of the other Capitol rioters have faced. Justice Department lawyer Kelly Smith made it clear that the government was still investigating Williams and that it was possible she could face other charges in the future.
Update on case Yesterday…