Woman accused of stealing Nancy Pelosi’s laptop delays abuse hearing against man who called FBI
Central Pennsylvania woman accused of Nancy Pelosi’s laptop theft claims she was not running away from authorities and removing evidence from social media in the days following the Capitol riot, but did was actually hiding from an ex-boyfriend.
Riley Williams, 22, sought an abuse protection order against her ex-boyfriend in Dauphin County court on January 13, the same week federal investigators said the ex-boyfriend called them after recognizing her in video footage inside the Capitol on January 6. seat. He provided information against her to the FBI, according to court records, and she now faces federal criminal charges.
A judge granted temporary protection against abuse on January 14 based on Williams’ claims and has scheduled a hearing for Wednesday at 8 a.m. to hear evidence. The ex-boyfriend told PennLive he was eager to provide evidence and refute his abuse claims at the hearing.
Williams, however, requested an extension and the judge granted it. The hearing is now set for April 21.
“This hearing has continued against our client’s wishes,” said attorney R. Emmett Madden. “He is eager to present his evidence proving that all of Ms William’s claims are false and that his efforts to use her as a scapegoat will not succeed.”
One of Williams’ allegations against her ex-boyfriend was that he showed up at her mother’s and her house at 5:30 p.m. on January 11. Her mother called 911 regarding a “suspicious person”. But Madden provided a police report from the ex-boyfriend’s hometown in New Jersey that showed police there confirmed his whereabouts in New Jersey at 5:44 p.m. on January 11 after receiving a call from Harrisburg Police.
Protection from the abuse hearing took on added importance due to the former boyfriend’s role providing information against Williams to the FBI, including allegations that she wanted to sell Pelosi’s laptop to the Russians.
In court documents, police say Williams bagged a bag, changed her phone number and deleted her social media accounts to avoid the police. But when Williams appeared in court last week, her defense attorney said a police officer told her to change her phone number to avoid her abusive boyfriend.
The defense admitted Williams was inside the Capitol, but said the former boyfriend’s accusations were “exaggerated”.
The ex-boyfriend told authorities Williams still had “Pelosi’s computer device or destroyed it,” a special agent wrote in the affidavit. “This matter remains under investigation.”
Williams ‘defense attorney said Tuesday that the FBI failed to recover Williams’ laptop despite searches of his home and car, media reported. The fate of the laptop remains unknown.
In Williams’ application for protection filed Jan. 13, she said her ex-boyfriend visited her and her mother’s home on Jan. 11 “without invitation” and “without permission” to search for her.
“The police told him not to come to my house and he always does,” Williams said, alleging he “stalked and threatened” her.
She said he repeatedly called her at work, tried to get her fired, asked friends to harass her, shared nude photos of her with relatives and acted violently towards her .
She also said: “He contacted the FBI and told them that I had access to Nancy Pelosi’s laptop and sold it to the Russians.”
The laptop’s reference was included in its summary of the “facts of the most recent incident of abuse” on the abuse protection form. She said “only dated this person for about three months.”
PennLive does not name the tipster, who lives in New Jersey, because he was not named by federal authorities in court documents.
Her attorney said Williams’ abuse allegations are easily refuted and that she filed them “in her mistaken logic” to try to prevent her client from reporting things he knew to the FBI.
“His claims make no sense,” Madden said. “The authorities don’t charge based on what an ex-boyfriend says, they have independent evidence. She clings to the straws.
Madden said he believed Williams, who was appearing for Wednesday’s PFA hearing, was likely unprepared and could have faced possible Fifth Amendment self-incrimination issues due to the overlap of allegations of abuse and federal criminal charges she fights.
Williams has been charged with theft, obstruction and trespassing, as well as violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.
On January 14, the Dauphin County Judge ordered the ex-boyfriend to stay away from Williams, his home, workplace and his mother’s home in Lower Paxton and had him also prohibited from posting remarks or images concerning Williams on a social network. These restrictions remain in place until the April hearing.
Williams graduated from Mechanicsburg Area Senior High in 2017, according to published graduate lists and yearbooks. According to court records online, she has no criminal records in Pennsylvania, just six traffic violations from 2017 to 2019 in Cumberland and Dauphin counties.
The federal affidavit states that Williams visited the Capitol in Washington DC with her father, who lives in Camp Hill. They broke up during the protest but returned together later, according to the affidavit.