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Prosecutors say the woman accused of stealing Pelosi's laptop is attempting a cover-up by deleting her social-media activity during house arrest

Business Insider logo Business Insider 1/26/2021 acollman@businessinsider.com (Ashley Collman)
a close up of a person in glasses looking at the camera: A composite image of Riley June Williams' mugshot and footage from the Capitol riot appearing to show Williams directing a crowd inside the building. Dauphin County Prison via Reuters/FBI © Dauphin County Prison via Reuters/FBI A composite image of Riley June Williams' mugshot and footage from the Capitol riot appearing to show Williams directing a crowd inside the building. Dauphin County Prison via Reuters/FBI
  • Riley June Williams, 22, is suspected of stealing Nancy Pelosi's laptop during the Capitol riot.
  • Prosecutors said Monday that Williams had been trying to cover her tracks while on house arrest.
  • They reportedly asked that her internet access be cut off. The judge hasn't ruled on the request.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Department of Justice prosecutors have accused Riley June Williams, the 22-year-old woman suspected of stealing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's laptop during the Capitol riot, of trying to cover up her tracks by deleting her social-media activity, according to Law & Crime and the NBC 4 reporter Scott MacFarlane.

In a court hearing on Monday, prosecutors also said Williams had been telling others to delete messages she had sent them, WHTM reported.

a person wearing glasses and smiling at the camera: Williams' driver's-license photo, released by the FBI. FBI affidavit © FBI affidavit Williams' driver's-license photo, released by the FBI. FBI affidavit Prosecutors are asking that Williams be cut off from the internet while she's under house arrest, according to the reports.

The judge hasn't decided on the matter, as Monday's hearing ended abruptly because of a scheduling conflict with Williams' new public defender, Law & Crime reported. The hearing is set to continue on Tuesday.

At the hearing on Monday, US Magistrate Judge Zia Faruqui called the allegations "extremely troubling" and asked why prosecutors weren't asking for Williams to be detained again, Law & Crime reported.

Williams was arrested on January 18. She was released from detention and placed in her mother's custody at their home in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, on Thursday. An FBI affidavit said that before the arrest, Williams changed her phone number and appeared to delete accounts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Reddit, Telegram, and Parler.

Williams faces four charges: knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority; violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds; aiding and abetting others to embezzle, steal, or purloin; and obstructing, influencing, or impeding any official proceeding.

The affidavit said that Williams' ex called the FBI's tip line in the days after the Capitol riot and said he had seen Williams in a video directing crowds inside the building.

He also said that friends of Williams' had shown him another video that appeared to show Williams taking a laptop or hard drive from Pelosi's office, according to the affidavit.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at a press conference on Thursday. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images © Justin Sullivan/Getty Images House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at a press conference on Thursday. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The affidavit described him as saying that Williams "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."

Read more: What the Democratic-majority Senate means for climate change, gun control, and stimulus checks

It paraphrased him as adding that "the transfer of the computer device to Russia fell through for unknown reasons and Williams still has the computer device or destroyed it." The affidavit said the matter "remains under investigation." The laptop's whereabouts are unknown.

In an interview with MSNBC last week, Pelosi said that she wasn't concerned about the theft of that laptop and that she believed it was used only for Zoom meetings. Her deputy chief of staff had previously said the laptop was used only for presentations.

Williams' previous public defender, Lori Ulrich, blamed her client's participation in the riot on then-President Donald Trump.

"It is regrettable that Ms. Williams took the president's bait and went inside the Capitol," Ulrich said, according to NBC Philadelphia.

Read the full criminal complaint against Williams here ยป

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