College Student Who Entered Capitol During Riot, Allegedly Took Senate Sign, Pleads Guilty

A West Virginia college student who allegedly entered the Capitol building with supporters of former President Donald Trump during the Jan. 6 riots and took a "Members Only" sign posted near the Senate chambers pleaded guilty on Monday to a misdemeanor count, the Associated Press reported.

Gracyn Dawn Courtright, who is from Hurricane, West Virginia, gave the plea to a federal judge in Washington, D.C. via conference call.

The plea pertained to a charge of knowingly entering or remaining in a restricted building or grounds; other charges Courtright faced were discarded in the plea agreement with prosecutors, the AP reported. This includes a count of theft of government property under $1,000.

Courtright's sentencing trial was scheduled for Nov. 16, and she will remain free on a personal recognizance bond in the meantime. If convicted, she could see up to six months of prison time and a $9,500 fine, the AP reported.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Jan. 6 Rioters Inside Capitol
A college student who allegedly entered the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 riots and took a sign from outside the Senate chambers pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count Monday. Supporters of US President Donald Trump protest inside the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, in Washington, DC. Brent Stirton/Getty Images

Courtright, a mathematical economics major at the University of Kentucky, initially bragged that the occupation of the Capitol was making "history" and said she thought "it was cool," according to an FBI affidavit in support of a criminal complaint and arrest warrant. Later, she deleted her Instagram account.

She told the judge Monday that she also withdrew from the school, and that she's scheduled to appear before a college board in December.

Courtright, who was 23 when she was charged, was inside the Capitol for 24 minutes, prosecutors said. According to the affidavit, a witness who saw a video of Courtright in the Capitol messaged her on Instagram asking if she was there. The witness provided a screenshot of the messages to the FBI.

The witness expressed embarrassment after Courtright admitted she went inside, according to the FBI. Courtright allegedly wrote, "I'm not embarrassed so you shouldn't be."

When the witness accused her of treason, Courtright said she did not know what treason was, according to the affidavit. Before Courtright deleted her Instagram account, she wrote, "Infamy is just as good as fame. Either way I end up more known. XOXO."

According to the affidavit, in two Instagram photos in which she is raising her arms in the air, Courtright wrote, "can't wait to tell my grandkids I was here!"

The FBI said Courtright wore a black coat and a hat with a yellow band at the Capitol. A woman with matching clothes and physical features was seen on surveillance video near the Senate chamber carrying the "Members Only" sign before a law enforcement officer confiscated it. A newspaper photo also appeared to place Courtright in a crowd that initially clashed with police in the halls of the Capitol, the FBI said.

Capitol Rioters Clash with Police
Demonstrators breeched security and entered the Capitol as Congress debated the 2020 presidential election Electoral Vote Certification. Trump supporters clash with police and security forces as people try to storm the US Capitol on January 6, 2021 in Washington, DC. Brent Stirton/Getty Images