UK student faces federal charges in Capitol riot

UK student faces federal charges in Capitol riot
A University of Kentucky student violated federal law in connection with the riot on the U.S. Capitol, newly released court records show. (Source: U.S. Department of Justice)

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - A University of Kentucky student faces federal charges in connection with the riot on the U.S. Capitol, newly released court records show.

Gracyn Courtright of West Virginia is accused of violating federal laws when she entered the Capitol with others on Jan. 6 as they took over the building when Congress met to certify the results of November’s presidential election.

The accusations are revealed in an affidavit in support of a criminal complaint and warrant for her arrest that the FBI filed Saturday in the U.S. District Court of Columbia.

Courtright is being charged with knowingly entering or remaining in a restricted building or grounds, engaging in disorderly conduct in a restricted building, violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds and theft of government property under $1,000, according to the court records.

The affidavit states the FBI reviewed her Instagram posts, photos, and videos and compared them to her West Virginia driver’s license to confirm she was there. They also matched her clothing to a “Washington Post” photo taken at the same time of her social media posts.

The account was deleted, but not before someone took screenshots and provided those to authorities, court records show.

“Courtright can be identified by her unique hat with the yellow band, the surrounding people, flag, and building architecture (all of which can be seen in both this picture and her personally captured video),” the affidavit reads.

Courtright is seen in other footage carrying a “Members Only” sign and making her way from the first to second floor. A law enforcement officer later took it from her, according to court records.

“‘These videos appear to be filmed by Courtright, and at one point she turns the camera towards herself and the yellow band of the hat depicted above is clearly visible. One video shows her with a crowd inside the Capitol chanting ‘USA.’ Another video shows her and others approaching a line of law enforcement officers inside the Capitol chanting ‘whose house, our house,’” the affidavit states.

She also wrote in direct messages to an unidentified person: “I walked into the Senate like in the chamber where the desk are” and “idk what treason is,” according to the court record.

Courtright wrote that the mob wasn’t violent like the news reported: “I never saw the violence I guess I was lucky.”

The person exchanging messages with Courtright called her “embarrassing.”

She responded: “It’s history idc” and, “I thought it was cool.”

Last week, on Thursday, Jan. 14, FBI agents went to Courtright’s father’s address to interview her, court records state.

Her father indicated he “did not feel comfortable allowing her to give a statement unless she was notified she would not get in trouble for her actions,” the affidavit states.

“However, he told the FBI that (she) traveled to Washington, DC, to be at ‘the party’ and stayed with friends from high school who live in the DC area. According to her father, she was in the front of the crowd during President Donald Trump’s speech,” the court record reads.

He also told them, according to the affidavit:

  • His daughter made it to the Capitol an hour after Trump gave his speech but she did not remember which side of the Capitol she was on when she entered the building.
  • She “recalled walking up a ramp prior to entering the Capitol and was able to walk in.”
  • He is a lawyer but was not his daughter’s criminal attorney. If she was charged with anything, a separate attorney would be hired for her.

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