Jan. 6 Defendant Accused of Stealing Pelosi’s Laptop Receives 3-year Prison Sentence

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A woman who was accused of stealing then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s laptop computer and other criminal actions at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, has been sentenced to three years in prison.

U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson handed down a sentence on Thursday against Riley Williams, whom a jury had convicted in November on six counts related to her actions at the Capitol. Prosecutors accused Williams of playing a key role in leading a group up a set of stairs and into Pelosi’s office.

A jury ultimately convicted Williams on charges on six charges, including civil disorder; impeding officers; disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted area; disorderly and disruptive conduct in a capitol building and parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a Capitol building.

Prosecutors had accused Williams of stealing Pelosi’s laptop and said a witness who described themselves as Williams’ former romantic partner made several calls to the FBI claiming Williams had taken Pelosi’s laptop or hard drive and planned “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 witness told the FBI that Williams’ plans to send Pelosi’s laptop to Russia fell through and that she either kept or destroyed the device. The jury was ultimately deadlocked on the question of whether Williams aided and abetted in the theft of Pelosi’s laptop, and the government dismissed the charge with a mistrial motion.

Pelosi’s office did report that a laptop went missing after the Jan. 6 Capitol breach. Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill said at the time that the computer “was only used for presentations.”

Prosecutors also alleged Williams used commercial-grade software “to wipe her computer six times” in an effort to hide evidence. Williams allegedly changed her phone number and deleted her accounts on social media platforms like Facebook, Reddit, and Parler.

The jury deadlocked on a charge alleging Williams tampered with or intimidated a witness.

The government could seek a new trial against Williams on the theft and witness tampering charges.

By Ryan Morgan

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