Riley June Williams in a photo from the Dauphin County Jail in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Dauphin County Jail / Handout via Reuters
The lawyer for the woman accused of stealing Pelosi’s laptop blamed Trump for the January 6 uprising.
Riley June Williams “took the president’s bait,” Lori Ulrich told a court hearing on Thursday.
Trump had told supporters to “fight like hell” before a mob stormed the Capitol.
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The lawyer for the woman accused of stealing Spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi’s laptop during the Capitol riot has blamed former President Donald Trump for the violation.
On Sunday, the Justice Department accused 22-year-old Riley June Williams of entering a restricted building and behaving in a mess in connection with the January 6 riot.
Williams was arrested on Monday, and the Justice Department expanded the charges to include state property theft and disability on Tuesday.
In a federal court hearing in Pennsylvania Thursday, Williams’ attorney, Lori Ulrich, admitted that her client had entered the Capitol, but added, “It is unfortunate that Ms. Williams took the President’s bait and entered the Capitol,” reported NBC Philadelphia.
Just before the mob stormed the Capitol, Trump had told supporters gathered outside the complex to “show strength” and “fight like hell”.
President Donald Trump speaks at the Save America rally in Washington, DC on January 6, 2021. Tayfun Coskun / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
Some Republicans and Democratic lawmakers have directly accused Trump of causing the Capitol riot that killed five people. A handful of his supporters who are bringing charges have also told authorities that they are merely following Trump’s instructions.
Legal experts have said that these statements by the President’s supporters open him up to criminal charges.
On January 13, the House of Representatives charged Trump with inciting the rioters. The former president is now facing impeachment proceedings in the Senate. If convicted, he could be denied application for public office.
According to an affidavit released on Sunday, the FBI began investigations into whether Williams had stolen Pelosi’s laptop after receiving a call from a person who identified himself as Williams’ former romantic partner.
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The person said he saw a video of Williams stealing the laptop and planned to sell it to a Russian spy agency through an intermediary, the affidavit said.
The location of the laptop is still unknown, and Williams was not charged on charges of selling the laptop to Russia.
Ulrich, the defense attorney, told the court on Thursday that the allegations she made of an ex-boyfriend who molested Williams were “exaggerated.”
Riots in the US Capitol Building. Michael Nigro / Pacific Press: LightRocket / Getty
A Tuesday update to the FBI’s affidavit said that a person named “Riley” posted a message on Discord, a social media platform, on Jan. 6, boasting, “I stole Nancy Polesi [sic]. “
Pelosi’s assistant chief of staff, Drew Hammill, said Jan. 8 that the laptop identified by the FBI as a Hewlett-Packard device was “only used for presentations.”
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If Williams is found guilty, she faces up to 20 years in prison.
Citing the absence of previous criminal convictions, federal judge released Williams on Thursday from a prison in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and placed her in the care of her mother in her county home.
“These offenses are very serious,” said Judge Martin Carlson Williams at the hearing. “It cannot be overstated.”
If Williams violates the terms of her release, her mother, Wendy Williams, will also be charged, Carlson said.
“Your mother is making a tremendous leap in confidence on your behalf and you are the only person in this courtroom who can ensure that your mother doesn’t have to choose between her love for you and her duty to this court,” he said.
Williams is expected in federal court on January 25th via video link.
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