Riley Williams, a 25-year-old Pennsylvania woman who was indicted on eight Jan. 6-related charges — one of which involved allegedly stealing Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s Hewlett Packard laptop — has been on house arrest for the past year and a half. But a judge recently granted her an eight-hour release. Where will she be going? The Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire, which is hosting a “Fairies and Fantasy”-themed weekend this Saturday and Sunday.
As the complaint tells it, Williams was arrested in late January 2021, after a “former romantic partner” called into the FBI tip line. Williams’ ex claimed that footage from the insurrection showed her “directing crowds inside the U.S. Capitol Building” and later, “taking a laptop computer or hard drive from Pelosi’s office.” The tipster claimed she planned “to sell the device to SVR, Russia’s foreign intelligence office,” but later discarded it.
Williams seemed to talk about her alleged involvement on Discord and other social media, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette — at one point writing: “I took Nancy Polesis [sic] hard drives. I don’t care. Kill me.” Authorities claimed she also bragged about taking, in her (alleged) words, Pelosi’s “gravel hammwrd tbing.” Messages from the same account seemed to indicate Williams didn’t think she would be caught. Per the Post-Gazette:
“Like theure [sic] gonna arrest me,” Ms. Williams allegedly wrote, adding in another post hours later: “They’ll never take me alive.”
Eventually, they did take her alive.
Judge Amy Jackson, who’s overseeing the case, has previously denied motions to lift Williams’s house arrest, as she’s considered a “flight risk.” But Williams has gotten other outings approved in the past, including a Christmas Day visit to her grandma’s house, according to court records. Jackson’s rationale for approving the releases is unclear from the filings, but state detainees can get temporary release from time to time for special occasions. In this case, Williams’ special occasion was the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire, where they’ll be hosting something called a “Faerie Frolic,” the “Nipperkin’s Costume Exhibition,” and a “Royal Hound Costume Contest.”
“The gates of the shire swing open wide welcoming all to Mount Hope!” the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire notes on its website. “Fine [sic] yourself among your fellow travelers as well as travelers from the Fey realm — Pixies, brownies, centaurs, fawns, Duengeon Masters [sic] and more. Experience the fantasy!”