Prosecutors want a judge to prohibit a woman’s internet access after it was reported that she has been encouraging people to destroy evidence related to the Capitol insurrection.
Riley Williams, 22, was arrested in Pennsylvania on Jan. 18 for her role in the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection. She faces several charges including theft, trespassing and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds. Williams is suspected of participating in the theft of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s laptop during the riot.
Williams was released on bail Thursday into the custody of her mother. She was ordered to remain confined at home and wear an ankle monitor.
On Monday Scott McFarlane of NBC 4 reported that the Justice Department suspects that Williams has been using the internet in recent days to encourage people to destroy evidence in the Capitol insurrection case.
A federal prosecutor asked Magistrate Judge Zia M. Faruqui to limit Williams’ internet access. The prosecutors requested that Faruqui prohibit Williams from computer, phone and internet access, and also asked that the court order a mental health assessment.
Pelosi’s HP laptop was stolen from her office the day of the Capitol riot. A video shared with investigators by Williams’ ex-boyfriend shows a woman believed to be Williams is seen telling a man to “put on gloves” before he touches the laptop on the desk. Capitol Police have confirmed the video was taken inside of Pelosi’s office.
Williams’ former partner told investigators she told him she planned to sell the laptop to a Russian intelligence service. None of the charges Williams faces are related to allegations she planned to sell the laptop. Court documents claim those allegations remain under investigation.
Faruqui said he was surprised that prosecutors didn’t request that Williams be jailed pending the resolution of her case.
On social media, users expressed concerns about Williams’ release on bail.
Williams’ attorney said the accusations against her client are “overstated” and that the ex-boyfriend who reported Williams to the FBI had been abusive.
Williams’ first court appearance was scheduled for Monday, Jan. 25, but was postponed until the next day. If convicted, she could face up to 30 years in prison.