|A Pennsylvania woman facing charges that she helped steal a laptop from the office of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi during the attack on the U.S. Capitol will be released from jail, a federal judge decided Thursday.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Martin Carlson directed that Riley June Williams be released into the custody of her mother, with travel restrictions, and instructed her to appear Monday in federal court in Washington to continue her case.
“The gravity of these offenses is great,” Carlson told Williams. “It cannot be overstated.”
Williams, 22, of Harrisburg, is accused of theft, obstruction and trespassing, as well as violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds. Carlson noted Williams has no prior criminal record.
The FBI says an unidentified former romantic partner of Williams tipped them off that she appeared in video from the Jan. 6 rioting and the tipster claimed she had hoped to sell the computer to Russian intelligence.
Williams’ defense lawyer, Lori Ulrich, told Carlson the tipster is a former boyfriend who had been abusive to Williams and that “his accusations are overstated.”
Video from the riot shows a woman matching Williams’ description exhorting invaders to go “upstairs, upstairs, upstairs” during the attack, which briefly disrupted certification of President Joe Biden’s electoral victory.
“It is regrettable that Ms. Williams took the president’s bait and went inside the Capitol,” Ulrich told the judge.
Williams surrendered to face charges on Monday. She was expected to leave the county jail in Harrisburg later Thursday, and will be on electronic monitoring to await trial.
Heavican said the court’s online payment systems allowed residents to pay traffic tickets and court fines without leaving their homes, and the judiciary also offered an online education system to help judges, lawyers, guardians and others meet continuous education requirements.
New attorneys were sworn into office via online ceremonies across the state, Heavican said. In Dawson County, one judge is broadcasting court proceedings on YouTube.
Heavican said schools and private organizations have hosted trials in counties whose courthouses are too small for adequate social distancing to prevent transmission of the coronavirus. He said jury trials were held at the University of Nebraska-Kearney, Grand Island Central Community College and local K-12 schools and the Lincoln Masonic Lodge.
Heavican also touted the benefits of probation services and problem-solving courts. He said probation costs nearly $2,000 per person, per year, and problem-solving courts costs about $4,000, compared to $41,000 for a person in prison. “Do the math,” he said. “Probation is the taxpayers’ friend.”