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US Capitol riots: FBI investigates whether stolen Pelosi laptop was offered to Russia

Ns News Online DeskNs News Online Desk: The FBI is investigating whether a 22-year-old woman stole a laptop or hard drive from Nancy Pelosi’s office during the riots at the US Capitol, intending to sell it to Russian intelligence.

The claims against Riley June Williams were made in a sworn statement presented by an FBI agent to the court.

The affidavit said Ms Williams was seen in TV footage directing crowds who stormed the Capitol on 6 January.

The FBI agent said Ms Williams appears to have since fled.Ms Williams’ is among more than 200 case files that have been opened since supporters of President Trump forced their way into the Capitol building as Congress met to confirm Joe Biden’s election win.

Security is tight ahead of Joe Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday amid fears of further attacks by far-right groups and others who believe President Trump’s unfounded claims that the election was stolen from him.The FBI agent in the court filing says the agency was tipped off by a former romantic partner of Ms Williams who alleged she had intended to take a laptop or hard drive from the office of Ms Pelosi, the Democrat Speaker of the House of Representatives.

The witness “stated that Williams intended to send the computer device to a friend in Russia, who then planned to sell the device to SVR, Russia’s foreign intelligence service”, the affidavit said.

The transfer of the device “fell through for unknown reasons”, the witness is alleged to have said, “and Williams still has the computer device or destroyed it”.

The agent said “this matter remains under investigation”.

Ms Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff, Drew Hammill, tweeted two days after the attack that a laptop had been stolen from the speaker’s office but it was only used to give presentations.The affidavit goes on to give details of an ITV News report from inside the Capitol building at the time of the siege, in which a woman identified as Ms Williams can be seen and heard directing the crowd to go up a staircase that leads to Ms Pelosi’s office.

A second ITV News report some days later has an interview with Ms Williams’ mother at their home in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, in which she confirmed her daughter was the woman in the TV footage. She said her daughter had left home without saying where she was going.The affidavit ends by suggesting there is “probable cause to believe” Ms Williams committed crimes by knowingly entering restricted buildings and engaging in disruptive conduct with the intention of disrupting government business.

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