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The FBI has charged a woman in an investigation on a tip that a Capitol rioter stole a laptop from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office with plans of selling it to Russia.
The agency revealed that a tipster raised the possibility of the stolen laptop as it continues to deal with the aftermath of the insurrection on January 6, which saw Donald Trump supporters storm the US Capitol building and break into lawmakers’ offices.
There is no indication that a laptop was actually taken from Pelosi’s office, but in a new criminal court case the FBI said the matter ‘remains under investigation’.
The FBI arrested Riley June Williams, from Pennsylvania, in relation to the allegations, after a person claiming to be Williams’ former romantic partner identified her in footage taken from the riot.
According to an arrest affidavit cited by CNN, Williams appeared to be directing people ‘upstairs’ to Pelosi’s office.
The tipster claimed that Williams’ friends had shown them a video of Williams taking a laptop or hard drive from Pelosi’s office. They alleged that Williams then ‘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 source told the FBI the ‘transfer of the computer device to Russia’ ultimately fell through ‘for unknown reasons’, and that Williams still ‘has the computer device or destroyed it’.
The affidavit noted that Williams appeared to flee after the riot, with Williams’ mother telling local law enforcement officers that Williams ‘packed a bag and left her home and told her mother she would be gone for a couple of weeks’. She did not provide her mother with any information about her intended destination.
On January 11, Williams’ mother filed a suspicious persons report against the person claiming to be Williams’ former romantic partner.
Williams’ father told local police he drove with her to Washington for the protests, but that they split up for the day while she joined other friends.
The pair reconvened in front of the Capitol later that day. During a video call to Williams witnessed by police, she was seen wearing a brown jacket that matched the one she was seen wearing in images from the insurrection.
Williams has not been accused of theft, and instead faces charges of violent entry or disorderly conduct and entering the restricted space of the Capitol; the same charges faced by many who took part in the riot.
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