PORTLAND, Ore. — A Battle Ground man who pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge for his role in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol has been sentenced to 21 days in prison and supervised release.
Jeremy Grace, 38, was among the very first wave of rioters to enter the U.S. Capitol building, according to federal prosecutors. Grace, and his father Jeff Grace of Battle Ground, took selfie-style photos both inside and outside of the Capitol during the insurrection.
"I take responsibility for my actions that day," Grace said, speaking by phone before U.S. District Judge Randolph Moss in Washington D.C. "I never meant to hurt my family or business."
On April 8, Grace pleaded guilty to one count of Entering and Remaining in a Restricted Building or Grounds. As part of the plea deal, federal prosecutors agreed to drop three additional charges.
Court records show Grace travelled to Washington D.C. with his father, Jeff Grace, to attend the rally in support of Donald Trump. They travelled and stayed at a hotel with a member of the Proud Boys identified as "Travis" in court records.
The three of them attended a gathering of Proud Boys from around the country on Jan. 5, prosecutors said. Jeremy Grace was not a member of the Proud Boys, according to both prosecutors and the defense.
On Jan. 6, Grace and his father joined with a large group of Proud Boys at the Washington Monument before walking toward the U.S. Capitol Building, according to federal investigators.
Despite his claims that he came to Washington D.C. to attend a rally for former President Donald Trump, investigators said Grace never attended the rally that day.
Federal prosecutors included photos and stills from security footage in court documents showing Grace and his father a few feet behind the front line of protesters who pushed past law enforcement protecting the Capitol. Images taken from security cameras show Grace entering the U.S. Capitol Building and then watching another rioter attempt to steal a Congressional lectern.
Grace used his cell phone to take several selfie-style videos and photos, prosecutors said. In one video, investigators said Grace and his father repeatedly chanted, "Our house, our house," while outside the U.S. Capitol Building.
Grace spoke with the FBI both before and after his arrest. According to prosecutors, he lied in two separate interviews with federal agents by claiming he never entered the U.S. Capitol Building. Even when confronted with photos of himself and his father at the Capitol on Jan. 6, investigators said Grace denied knowing who was in the photos.
As part of a plea agreement, Grace admitted he destroyed three incriminating selfie-style videos from his phone.
During sentencing, Grace’s defense lawyer portrayed the Battle Ground man as a dedicated family man with a wife and two children. Several family members provided letters of support to the court on behalf of Grace, along with his employer ALCO Electric. Grace is a journeyman electrician.
"Jeremy has continued to be a great employee and father, I know him well enough even though he was not involved in acts of violence I can tell he is very regretful of the pain caused by his presence on Jan. 6th," stated Brian Alexander, owner of ALCO Electric, in court papers.
Grace is a Navy veteran and has no criminal history.
"I take responsibility for my actions," Grace said in a letter to the court. "I know that I was part of a group and that many members of that group became violent. That was never my intention. I never wanted to destroy any property or hurt any individuals, and I did not do so."
Grace’s defense lawyer said the Battle Ground man was in the Capitol Building for a total of eight minutes.
Prosecutors claim Grace tried to capitalize on his participation in the Jan. 6 riot by helping his father sell t-shirts, baseball caps, water bottles, decals and other memorabilia with phrases like "Our House" or "These Colors Don’t Run" and images of the U.S. Capitol Building, some with the American flag emblazed on them.
His defense lawyer argued Grace hadn’t broken any laws by helping to sell those items, nor had he personally made any profit.
Six other people from Oregon and Southwest Washington have also been charged in relation to the attack on the U.S. Capitol. Grace is the first defendant from the region to be sentenced in connection with the insurrection.
Court records indicate his father, Jeff Grace, is scheduled for a plea hearing on July 28.