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Judge denies Riley Williams' motion to have conditions of house arrest lifted

The Cumberland County woman is accused of stealing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's laptop during the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.

MECHANICSBURG, Pa. — Editor's note: The above video is from Jan. 26, 2021

A Central Pennsylvania woman accused of stealing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's laptop from her office inside the U.S. Capitol building during the January 6 riot must remain on house arrest with ankle monitoring until her trial, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.

Riley Williams, 23, of Mechanicsburg, had petitioned the court asking for the house arrest and ankle monitoring conditions of her release to be lifted, stating through her attorney that they were "unduly burdensome."

Those conditions state that Williams must stay at home at almost all times, wear an ankle monitor, not travel outside Central Pennsylvania and have limited use of electronics.

In her ruling, U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson denied Williams' request, noting that Williams has not been fully compliant with the terms of her release.

Williams also remains a potential flight risk, Jackson added.

Williams noted in her motion that she has been on home detention since Jan. 21, 2021 and requested that the conditions of home detention and monitoring should be removed because of "her good behavior and her employment," and that she has "been in full compliance with her conditions of release for the previous 16 months."

But, Jackson noted, Williams and her mother, who is serving as her custodian, have not been completely truthful with probation officers assigned to ensure she is complying with the conditions of her house arrest.

"The supervising Probation Officer is not at all satisfied that the defendant has been in full compliance or is a good candidate for a less restrictive plan," Jackson said. 

The judge cited the following examples in her ruling:

  • On August 16, 2021, (Williams) was untruthful with Pretrial Services about the identity  of  an  individual  who  visited  her  (“Individual  1”),  and  also directed her third party custodian – her mother –   to conceal the truth about him
  • On  August  17,  2021, Williams'  mother  “falsely  informed  Williams’s then-supervising probation/pretrial services officer that Williams was not working much the following few weeks due to a cousin visiting from North Carolina.
  • On September 9, 2021, Pretrial Services observed a tablet case and charging cord inside of Williams car, a violation of the condition requiring her to limit the use of electronics
  • On  September  10,  2021, Individual 1 told the FBI that  he communicated with Williams via video chat, in violation of defendant’s conditions  of release
  • Defendant has been tardy in submitting her weekly schedule to her Pretrial Services Officer on multiple occasions
  • Defendant  has  been  “late  returning  home  after  attending  preapproved  outings,” including on May 26, 2022 -- the day before she filed her motion asking for the conditions of her house arrest to be reduced.

Jackson also noted that in the days after the Jan. 6 incident at the Capitol, Williams attempted to evade arrest by leaving home, deleting her social media accounts, and changing her phone number. She described Williams as a continued flight risk, according to her ruling.

"And given the supervising officer’s assessment that 'removal of the location   monitoring condition would be premature and unwarranted' because the defendant 'has not demonstrated a willingness to consistently comport to the release conditions,' the defendant's motion will be denied," Jackson wrote.

Williams is accused of encouraging other people to go inside the Capitol building during the riot, and of directing other members of the crowd once they were inside. The FBI released images and video showing a woman matching Williams' description performing these alleged acts when she was charged.

Williams is also accused of sharing posts and video on social media where she claimed to have stolen Pelosi's laptop while the mob was inside the building.

Williams is expected to go to trial on the charges against her next year.

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