No plea deal yet for West Virginian in Jan. 6 case, but two sides agree they’re getting close

Attorneys are still negotiating a plea deal for Gracyn Courtright, one of the West Virginians accused of swarming into the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

Courtright had a plea agreement hearing scheduled this morning in federal court for the District of Columbia. But it turned out there was no resolution today.

“I understand there may be a hiccup?” asked U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper.

Defense attorney Thomas Abbenante agreed that the two sides have not yet reached agreement. He alluded to ongoing discussions with Rachel Fletcher of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington, D.C.

The defense attorney suggested the two sides are likely to reach an agreement.

“An offer was made to Ms. Courtright, and I made a counteroffer to Ms. Fletcher. My understanding is my counteroffer is being evaluated by not only Ms. Fletcher but also by the supervisors who are part of this process,” Abbenante told the judge.

“I’ve spoken with Ms. Fletcher and I think we could have this matter wrapped up within a couple of weeks.”

Fletcher agreed.

“I think we’re close to an agreement after some discussions, and we’re just in a phase of getting paperwork approved and Mr. Avananti’s counteroffer approved,” she said.

Judge Cooper set a new court date, 10 a.m. August 25, to revisit the matter.

Gracyn Courtright

Courtright faces charges of knowingly entering a restricted building without lawful authority, knowingly engaging in disorderly conduct in a restricted building, disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds and theft of government property valued less than $1,000.

The allegations claim Courtright entered the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, was seen on surveillance video, posted her own photos and videos from the site, and wandered around with a Senate “Members Only” sign until an officer took it away.

Courtright has been among about 500 people charged in the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riots. Of the thousands of protesters in Washington, D.C., that day, about 800 went into the Capitol, police have said. Only a few have pleaded guilty so far.

The hundreds of cases have flooded the federal court system in D.C., where judicial matters had already been slowed by the coronavirus pandemic.

The mob storming the U.S. Capitol disrupted the constitutional duty of counting Electoral College votes and prompted the evacuations of representatives, senators and Vice President Mike Pence. One woman was fatally shot while trying to climb into the chambers, three others died from “medical emergencies” and more than 100 police officers were injured.

Several West Virginians face charges from that day’s events. They include George Tanios, a Morgantown sandwich shop operator accused in the assault of three Capitol police officers with pepperspray, former state Delegate Derrick Evans of Wayne County, who resigned after being charged, former Parkersburg Councilman Eric Barber, also accused of surging into the Capitol and college senior Courtright of Hurricane.

Barber has a status hearing scheduled this week, 3 p.m. Wednesday before U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper of the District of Columbia.

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