The Pennsylvania woman accused of stealing a laptop from Nancy Pelosi’s office on Jan. 6 — who just last month was ordered to continue wearing an ankle monitor — will be allowed to attend a Renaissance Faire this weekend.
Riley June Williams is facing an array of charges in connection with the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, including civil disorder, obstruction of an official proceeding, and assaulting, resisting, or impeding officers.
She’s also alleged to have swiped a computer from the office of the House Speaker, a Democrat, as hordes of Donald Trump supporters descended on the Capitol building in protest of Congress’ certification of Joe Biden’s win in the 2020 presidential election.
According to court documents, a witness told investigators that Williams had intended to sell the computer to a friend in Russia, who in turn planned to sell it to Russia’s foreign intelligence service.
Prosecutors also say that Williams had left home after telling her mother she’d be gone for a few weeks, but subsequently changed her phone number and deleted her social media account. Williams’ lawyer said that her client was fleeing an abusive ex-boyfriend.
Since her arrest in January 2021, Williams has been on home detention. According to the federal case docket, Williams’ efforts to dismiss the charges and, alternatively, have the case tried in Pennsylvania have failed, and her request to have the ankle monitor that tracks her location removed was recently denied.
On Tuesday, however, Williams seems to have caught a break: U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson granted the defendant’s wish to attend the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire.
Williams, through her lawyer Lori Ulrich, filed the request Monday.
“Ms. Williams respectfully requests that she be allowed to attend The Pennsylvania Renaissance Fair [sic]” on Sunday, August 21, 2022, Williams’ motion said.
The motion noted that the prosecutor in the case, Samuel S. Dalke, “concurs in this request.”
Jackson, a Barack Obama appointee, issued a minute order on Tuesday allowing Williams to attend.
“Defendant must provide her precise itinerary to Pretrial Services two business days before the trip,” the judge’s order said.
It’s not surprising that Jackson would want to keep close tabs on Williams; in her July order denying the defendant’s request to be taken off GPS monitoring, Jackson recalled Williams’ alleged prior attempts to avoid authorities.
“The record reflects that the defendant initially tried to evade arrest by leaving her home, deleting her social media accounts, and changing her phone number,” Jackson wrote at the the time.
Jackson had, however, allowed Williams to spend Christmas at her grandmother’s home in December of 2021. She had also been allowed to leave her house during certain hours of the day in order to look for work.
As Williams’ next status conference is scheduled for Friday, it’s possible that the judge may caution the defendant against violating any conditions of pretrial release, although Williams has been compliant so far.
The outdoor festivals are normally attended by celebrants wearing costumes inspired by Renaissance-era and medieval clothing. Heavy on food, drink, and performances, they tend to involve elements of fantasy as well as a romanticized version of European history.
The Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire did not immediately respond to Law&Crime’s request for comment.
[Images via Dauphin County Prison, YouTube screengrab.]
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