I know it’s not the best thing for my mental or physical health, but I just can’t quit reading these charging documents for what one FBI agent termed “the low-hanging fruit”, i.e., the terrorists who completely outed themselves on social media. They’re soothing in a way similar to genre fiction — they follow more-or-less the same pattern with just enough variation to keep it interesting, and they all have a happy ending (for me, not for them).
The pattern is extremely simple: boilerplate about the agent and the event, followed by robust (usually multiple pages) of detail culled from social media and/or press reports, ended by a list of federal statutes that were violated. They’re all a satisfying read, but for me to give one of these five stars on Yelp, it also has to include some form of self- or family-incrimination when the FBI interviews the terrorist or their family.
It’s hard to pick favorites, but here’s one that I think goes the extra mile: University of Kentucky student Gracyn Courtright. Here’s the press story and the affadavit filed by FBI Special Agent Miriam Hanna [pdf].
Young Gracyn began her day by posting a picture of herself on the Capitol grounds, captioned “can’t wait to tell my grandkids I was here”. Another photo was captioned “Infamy is just as good as fame. Either way I end up more known. XOXO” Note that these photos were supplied to the FBI by people who took screenshots since Gracyn deleted her Insta after the riots.
After posting her selfies, Gracyn was photographed holding a “Members Only” sign (a “thing of value” under 18 USC § 641), walking up some steps inside the Capitol. The affadavit also documents an Instagram DM exchange between her and someone else. Here’s an excerpt:
Someone: You were there???
Gracyn: Yes it wasn’t violent like the news said I took pictures all in the building, I never saw the violence I guess I was lucky – The cops like lets us walk in
Someone: Dude that’s embarrassing.
Gracyn: I walked into the chamber like the senate where desk are – it’s history idc – I thought it was cool.
Someone: You’re a moron – What’s cool about that lady dying because you and your fellow idiots are cry babies over an election??? She’s dead. It’s history??? You’re on the wrong side of it dumbass. You embarrassed everyone who knows you.
Gracyn: I’m sad she died? my friends are my friends everyday?
Someone: YEA YOU FUCKING IDIOT! What you did was treason!
Gracyn: idk what treason is
There are a half dozen other pictures of her in the mob, then comes the part that shows you that the dumb Gracyn didn’t fall far from Daddy’s stupid tree. The FBI
On January 14, 2021, FBI Special Agents went to COURTRIGHT’s father’s address to interview COURTRIGHT. COURTRIGHT’s father indicated that he did not feel comfortable allowing COURTRIGHT to give a statement unless she was notified she would not get in trouble for her actions.1 However, he told the FBI that COURTRIGHT 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. Her father further stated that she made it to the Capitol an hour after TRUMP gave his speech, and she did not remember which side of the Capitol she was on when she entered the building. Her father stated that she had recalled walking up a ramp prior to entering the Capitol and was able to walk in. The father concluded by stating that if his daughter was charged with a crime, he would assist in ensuring she turned herself in to authorities.
The footnote is a low-key work of art. Special Agent Hanna should take up writing humor if the FBI gig doesn’t work out:
1 COURTRIGHT’s father represented that he was a lawyer, but was not COURTRIGHT’S criminal attorney, and that if she was charged with anything, a separate attorney would be hired for her.
This guy is acting like his kid got hauled into the principal’s office for throwing spitballs. Dude, I don’t know what you learned in law school, but the fucking FBI does not notify you that you won’t get in trouble for your actions, especially if your actions are sedition. The stupidity and ignorant privilege on display here beggars belief. Gracyn is charged with violating 18 USC § 1752(a)(1) and (2), 40 USC §5014 (e)(2)(D) and (e)(2)(G), and 18 USC § 641 (under $1,000). Maximum possible sentence is at least 21 years from what I can tell, but I’m not a lawyer, and they’re just getting started charging this young woman.