Two women in Renaissance outfits pose for the camera.

Woman Accused of Stealing Nancy Pelosi’s Laptop on Jan 6 Released From House Arrest for Very Important Reason: The Renaissance Faire Was in Town

25-year-old Riley Williams has been under house arrest since early 2021 after her ex reportedly saw her in a video directing crowds into the U.S. Capitol building during the January 6 insurrection, and contacted law enforcement to turn her in.

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Williams pleaded not guilty to all eight charges brought against her for her alleged participation in the riot, which includes theft of government property, as she’s believed to have stolen Nancy Pelosi’s laptop. (“I took Nancy Polesis [sic] hard drives. I don’t care. Kill me,” she allegedly wrote on Discord hours after the Capitol riot.)

Federal agents are also reportedly investigating whether she planned to sell the laptop to Russian foreign intelligence. According to Fox43, the ex says Williams told friends that she “had intended to sell the device to a friend in Russia, who then planned to sell the device to SVR, which is Russia’s foreign intelligence service.”

So Williams is still under house arrest a year and a half later, because that’s what happens when you (allegedly) storm the Capitol, steal the Speaker of the House’s laptop, tell people you’re going to sell it to Russian intelligence, and brag about all of it on social media every step of the way. But things could be a lot worse for Williams because in addition to getting to leave her home to do practical, necessary things like look for work, she also gets to leave to do arguably less necessary things like spend eight hours at the Renaissance Faire.

“She’s been in in-home detention for the last year and a half,” Williams’ attorney told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “She is confined to her home 24/7 with exceptions. Every once in a while, if there is an activity that interests her, we ask if she can attend.”

To be clear, I think it’s great that Williams got to go to the Ren Faire. I hope she dressed up and enjoyed a giant turkey leg. I think more incarcerated people should get to go do normal, frivolous things. What is hilarious about this is that a ton of Republican Congress members and conservative media personalities have spent the last year and a half trying to convince us that every single one of the January 6 defendants are “political prisoners,” and are suffering horrific treatment and having their rights trampled because of their political beliefs.

Now, some of those defendants really have been living in awful conditions, and it would be nice if people like Marjorie Taylor Greene—who has been campaigning for urgently necessary prison reform in Washington D.C.—cared about a single other incarcerated person subjected to substandard prison conditions. But they don’t, and they’re literally turning the issue into political theater for their own partisan benefit.

(via NPR, image: Photo credit: colorblindPICASO on Visualhunt)


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Vivian Kane
Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.