Judge Sends College Student To Prison For ‘So Cool’ Capitol Riot

What's Happening

A college kid who appeared to be mindlessly going along for the ride ended up in the middle of court facing 15 to 21 months in federal prison. She was in the Capitol Building on January 6. This is what happened.

The young woman pled guilty before prosecutors found footage of her in the Capitol Building during the insurrection. Had they found it, she would have faced the longer sentence. The judge pointed out that at the time she was coming inside, Capitol Police were shooting and killing Ashli Babbitt.

U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper in Gracyn Courtright’s case was hard on her, even though she could not be charged with a felony conviction. She was a senior at the University of Kentucky at the time and pled guilty to her misdemeanor count of “unlawfully and knowingly entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds in August,” according to

‘She [Babbitt] was on the House side trying to climb through a window, you went in on the Senate side. Did you know what was on the other side of some of those doors that some people were trying to break down? You see my point. That could’ve been you.’

Then, the judge asked her whether she realized how many people died in the insurrection that day? How many police committed suicide after the mob overran the Capitol Building? “Was it cool to have been there?” She replied “No.”

Judge Cooper pointed out that so many young staffers were afraid they would die that day, and many were close to the defendant’s age, reported:

‘There were some folks just about your age, congressional staffers who were on the other side of those doors, thinking they had to call their family, because this may be it. You probably saw enough to know that this wasn’t a simple, peaceful protest.’

Courtright bragged on Instagram about her “infamy.” And that infamy of walking around the Capitol Building holding a wooden “Members only” sign just got her one month in jail and a year of supervised release. She gave the sign to a police officer when he asked.

The college student posted this note with some pictures of herself at the Capitol Building:

‘Infamy is just as good as fame. Either way I end up more known. XOXO. Can’t wait to tell my grandkids i was here!’

In another message, this one private, she wrote:

‘I thought it was cool. idk what treason is.’

On Friday, Courtright broke down in tears at her sentencing hearing Friday. During her sentencing, she started crying. After a brief pause, she read a prepared statement:

‘I have so much shame from this. I will never be the same girl again, this has changed me completely.’

Courtright said that January 6 changed her life. Now, she will be known as the “girl who trespassed in the Nation’s Capitol Building” who thought she was “just so cool:”

‘I will forever have to fear applying for jobs knowing the instant they Google my name they will not see the hardworking student who had been on the dean’s list. They will not see the girl that I know that I still am. They will only see the girl who trespassed in the nation’s Capitol and took pictures to prove she was there and posted pictures thinking she was just so cool.’

Courtright ended up on the Senate floor, although she did not realize it at the time. Tearfully, she added:

‘I just couldn’t take any more of the people telling me I was a horrible person, I just wanted to defend myself. But, like, I understand that I am a horrible person.’

Not so cool now.


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