Former UK student pleads guilty to involvement in Capitol riots


In footage from Capitol Police and provided to the FBI, Courtright (in the black and yellow hat) can be seen carrying a sign from the Capitol building during the riot on Jan. 6, 2021. Photo from the federal affidavit detailing Courtright’s charges.

Sarah Michels

On Monday, former UK senior Gracyn Courtright pleaded guilty for her participation in the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot in federal court. 

As part of her plea agreement, Courtright, 23, was charged with violating 18 U.S.C. § 1752(a)(1): “entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds.” 

This carries a maximum sentence of a year in prison and a $100,000 fine, but according to the plea agreement, Courtright will only face the possibility of zero to six months’ imprisonment and a maximum $9,500 fine due to her lack of previous criminal history. She also must pay $500 in restitution for her part of the approximately $1,495,326.55 worth of damage caused to the Capitol. 

As part of the agreement, Courtright waived her right to a jury trial, and her case will instead go straight to the sentencing stage, scheduled for 10 a.m. on Nov. 16, 2021. Courtright is currently out of jail on a personal recognizance bond, a written agreement to show up in court instead of paying bail, according to WTVQ

Courtright was not quiet about her participation in the Jan. 6 Capitol riots alongside supporters of former President Donald Trump. She posted several videos of the event on her social media accounts, chanting “USA” in one, and “Whose house? Our house” in another, according to the court’s plea statement.  She also engaged in a conversation with an Instagram follower in her direct messages, where she admitted to being in the Capitol, not being embarrassed about her participation and not knowing what treason is. 

Capitol surveillance video also showed Courtright attempting to steal a “members only” sign from the Capitol before a law enforcement officer made her return it. 

The FBI used her social media activity and the surveillance video to place Courtright at the Capitol during the break-in and file an affidavit. 

“The defendant knew at the time he/she entered the U.S. Capitol Building that she did not have permission to enter the building and the defendant entered into and remained in a restricted building,” the plea statement states.

Courtright was also charged with breaking three additional laws, according to previous Kernel coverage: 40 U.S.C. § 5104(e)(2)(d)—engaging in disruptive or threatening language or conduct within the Capitol; 40 U.S.C. § 5104(e)(2)(G) – parading, picketing or demonstrating in any Capitol grounds; and 18 U.S.C. § 641—”knowingly converting to her use, or conveying, without authority, a thing of value of the United States.”

These charges were dropped as part of the plea agreement. 

Courtright could not be reached for comment. UK does not comment on individual students’ disciplinary statuses.