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Pa. woman accused of stealing Pelosi’s laptop on Jan. 6 denied venue change for trial

This booking photo provided by the Dauphin County, Pa., Prison, shows Riley June Williams. Federal authorities on Monday, Jan. 18, 2021, arrested Williams, whose former romantic partner says she took a laptop from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office during the riot at the U.S. Capitol earlier this month.
AP
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Dauphin County Prison
This booking photo provided by the Dauphin County, Pa., Prison, shows Riley June Williams. Federal authorities on Monday, Jan. 18, 2021, arrested Williams, whose former romantic partner says she took a laptop from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office during the riot at the U.S. Capitol earlier this month.

A midstate woman charged with stealing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s laptop during the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol attack was denied her request to move her trial to a Pennsylvania court.

Riley Williams, a 23-year-old from Mechanicsburg, argued the publicity about her case makes it impossible to find an unbiased jury in Washington, D.C.

She cited a study that found the majority of D.C. residents surveyed presumed guilt for those accused of participating in the Capitol attack.

Federal Judge Amy Berman Jackson wrote in her opinion that Williams didn’t prove a jury would be tainted, and said the survey missed a broad chunk of potential jurors.

“[Williams] appears to know little about [Washington, D.C.] or its people,” Berman Jackson wrote. “And she relies on a flawed survey and mere assumptions and generalizations about the jury pool.”

Berman Jackson said Williams’ issues can be addressed during jury selection.

Williams was also denied a request for potential jurors in her case to be screened with an additional written questionnaire.

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Berman Jackson denied this request, citing courts that have previously been able to seat juries without questionnaires, and called the publicity around the case “relatively limited.”

Williams, who was videotaped inside the Capitol, faces multiple charges:

  • Civil disorder
  • Obstruction of an official proceeding
  • Assaulting, resisting, or impeding certain officers
  • Aiding and abetting theft of government property
  • Entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds
  • Disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds
  • Disorderly conduct in a Capitol building
  • Parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a Capitol building

Williams was denied a motion last month to change the conditions of her house arrest.

About 60 Pennsylvanians have been charged in connection with the Capitol attack – third most in the country behind Florida and Texas.