Jeffrey Grace was arrested Jan. 28 and appeared in District Court on Thursday
BATTLE GROUND — A 61-year-old Battle Ground resident is facing up to a year in prison, charged with being among hundreds of people who breached the U.S. Capitol Building on Jan. 6.
Jeffrey Grace was arrested Jan. 28 at his home and charged with one count of unauthorized entering or remaining in a restricted building or grounds, according to charging documents filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
Grace made a first appearance in Federal Court in Portland on Thursday, according to reporting by The Seattle Times newspaper. It wasn’t immediately clear if Grace had an attorney.
The FBI affidavit states that an informant called a tip line on Jan. 19 to report that Grace had been in the Capitol during the siege. Grace was interviewed two days later by agents outside of his home, and acknowledged traveling to Washington, D.C., along with his son, saying they were there to sightsee and attend the rally in support of then-President Donald Trump.
After the rally, Grace said he and his son became separated and he started walking with a crowd of people down Pennsylvania Avenue towards the Capitol Building.
According to agents, Grace said he entered the building on the north side after seeing an open door, adding that Capitol police appeared to be “overwhelmed by the number of protesters and looked scared.”
Grace stated that, once inside the building, he entered the Capitol rotunda, but did not go anywhere else.
As protesters violently clashed with police, Grace said he had “picked up items that others knocked over,” and left after witnessing damage caused by others who had entered the building.
Grace also said he spotted a man carrying a metal pipe and asked him to hand it over. When the man refused, Grace said he took it from him and hid it behind something.
Grace said he didn’t take any photos or video, but people had contacted him letting him know that he was visible in a widely circulated photo of a man carrying a lectern belonging to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi through the rotunda.
Grace attempted to leave the same way he came in, but found the door blocked by law enforcement. He told agents he then followed a crowd of people and left through a window that had previously been broken out.
According to the court documents, FBI agents obtained closed circuit camera footage from inside the rotunda which confirmed that Grace was present, wearing a shirt with a Betsy Ross-style American flag on it.
The video reportedly also showed Grace picking up items, hiding something behind a statue, and reattaching velvet ropes knocked over by other protesters. After speaking with someone else briefly, Grace can be seen leaving the building.
According to the documents, Grace claimed he was not a member of any group, and did not advocate violence, though he admitted to knowing people belonging to groups such as the Proud Boys, Three Percenters, and the 1 Percent Outlaw Motorcycle Gang.