A lawyer for the Harrisburg woman accused of stealing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s laptop during the Capitol riot has accused her ex-boyfriend whose tip had focused investigators’ attention in her direction.
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Her lawyer, Lori Ulrich, told the court that her client was not fleeing from authorities when she left her home, changed her phone number, and shut down her social media accounts after being identified by the FBI.
Instead, Riley Williams, 22, was seeking to escape what her attorney, Ulrich, a federal public defender, described as an abusive relationship with the ex-boyfriend.
Calling her client a victim of stalking and harassment, Ulrich maintained that it was police who had advised Williams to change her phone number after she obtained a restraining order against her former partner.
“His accusations are overstated,” Ulrich told U.S. Magistrate Judge Martin Carlson during a hearing in Harrisburg on Thursday in which he ordered her release on house arrest pending trial.
Neither Ulrich nor the federal authorities who have relied upon Williams’ ex as a central witness in their case have identified the man whose accusations led to her arrest this week.
Ulrich’s assertions about his conduct during their relationship and the restraining order her client obtained against him could not be independently verified by court records, which remain under seal.
And Ulrich’s citing of their relationship as the reason Williams fled her mother’s apartment and waited nearly two days to surrender to authorities appeared to contradict social media posts the FBI has attributed to her client.
It also contradicts statements her mother made days before Williams was arrested.
Tracked down by a British television news crew a day before FBI agents knocked on their door, Williams’ mother told the reporters that her daughter had fled.
She figured that law enforcement would find her if they wanted to speak with her about her participation in the Jan. 6 riot.
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