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University of Kentucky student facing charges after U.S. Capitol riot

Published: Jan. 17, 2021 at 11:45 PM EST
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - A University of Kentucky student faces four federal charges for allegedly entering the United States Capitol during the riots on January 6.

Gracyn Courtright is charged with knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without law authority, knowingly engaging in disorderly or disruptive conduct in any restricted building or grounds, violent entry and disorderly conduct on U.S. Capitol grounds, and theft of government property.

Courtright, who is from West Virginia, is a senior at UK. An FBI agent said they got more information from an article from the Kentucky Kernel, UK’s student newspaper, which detailed Courtrights involvement in the riots.

Lexington Defense Attorney Dan Carman says looking at the case from the outside, one issue her attorneys will have to deal with will be prosecutors who may not have a lot of leeway.

“You’re dealing with a prosecutor’s office who is probably taking some guidance from above. Their boss and the boss’s boss and so forth,” Carman said.

In a 19-page federal criminal complaint, the FBI gives several pieces of evidence, most of which is Courtright’s social media posts.

Officials included screenshots from Courtright’s now-de-activated Instagram account show pictures outside the capitol with the caption, “can’t wait to tell my grandkids I was here.”

In Instagram messages, Courtright says she didn’t see any violence, saying, “it’s history,” and “I thought it was cool.”

The complaint also includes screenshots from videos posted to a now-deleted Twitter account, along with a photo from a surveillance camera inside the capitol which it says shows Courtright carrying a sign that says ‘members only.’

According to the complaint, Courtright’s father acknowledged her involvement. It says he told the FBI Courtright went to Washington D.C. to be at, “the party.”

A UK spokesperson told WKYT they don’t discuss disciplinary issues, but say the school’s code of conduct applies both on and off-campus and would apply if a student violates local state or federal laws.

Carman says another issue, should the case go to trial, could be finding an impartial jury.

“It would seem jury selection would be interesting because almost every person who has eyes to see and ears to hear here in the United States, including among the jury pool in the District of Columbia, already have an opinion formed. About the events of that day,” Carman said.

Five people, including one capitol police officer, died in the riots.

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