A former long-haul truck driver in Washington state facing misdemeanor charges for entering the US Capitol building after marching with the Proud Boys on Jan. 6 said he expects to receive an additional felony charge for lying to the FBI.
Jeff Grace told an FBI agent who interviewed him at his home in Battle Ground, Wash. on Jan. 21 that he and his son, Jeremy, traveled to DC to attend the rally for Donald Trump, but he said the two got separated before he entered the Capitol. Jeff Grace was arrested on Feb. 4, and charged with entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds, disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds, disorderly conduct in a Capitol building, and parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building.
Jeremy Grace was arrested almost four months later, after the FBI retrieved a deleted video in which the father and son can be seen together inside the Capitol.
Jeff Grace's admission that he could be facing more legal trouble came during a recent interview with Todd Cotta, a gun-store owner and podcaster based in California's Central Valley who hosts the "Rebel Radio Now" show. During the June 14 interview, Cotta attempted to set the stage for his guest's account of his experiences in DC on Jan. 6 by mentioning that the father and son became separated.
"Not so much," Jeff Grace replied. "That was the original, uh…."
"Oh, okay, because that's what you hear," Cotta interjected, "is that you guys got separated."
Grace, a 62-year-old Army veteran, had to tell Cotta, a fellow Trump supporter, that his false statement about getting separated from his son was no longer viable.
"And you know what?" Grace said. "Let's share right now, because he has been arrested as of 10 days ago, because — I wanted to protect my son. I said I separated from him. So, now I have another charge that's going to be coming on me for lying to the FBI, which is a felony."
As of Tuesday, Grace has not been indicted for lying to a federal agent, a crime that can result in up to five years in prison. The US Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia, which is handling the Jan. 6 prosecutions, did not respond to an email requesting comment prior to publication.
Reached by phone on Monday, Grace confirmed to Raw Story that he is still expecting to be indicted for a felony.
"I know it's definitely on the table," he said. "It's the truth. I lied. That's perjury."
Grace was forced to take an early retirement from Daimler Trucks North America due to his role in the Capitol insurrection. He had worked as a test fleet driver who tested new equipment on semis while shuttling parts between manufacturing plants on either side of the country.
Grace told Raw Story he has no regrets about his actions on Jan. 6, calling it "one of the most honorable moments in my life."
"Am I sorry I lost my career? Of course," he said. "People were very frustrated and still are. It's a sad situation in our country.... By God, this is the best country in the world, and that's what I'm standing for."
Grace has set up a website to raise money for his legal fund by selling T-shirts and hats bearing the image of the US Capitol with the words "Our House." The experience of losing his job has only made him redouble his political commitments, Grace said.
"For me to say, you know what, this fell into my lap at a really good time," Grace told Cotta during the June 14 "Rebel Radio Now" episode. "I've got ADHD, and I'm now forced to retire because I lost my job. Hey! I've got a new passion that I get to embrace. So, it's a blessing to me."
Although he has not formally received a plea offer, Grace said prosecutors have mentioned one year in prison as a possible sentence. But he told Cotta on June 14 and Raw Story again on Tuesday that he has no interest in a plea deal. He added that he is frustrated that he is not receiving discovery materials, and is threatening to fire his lawyer.
"Do I need a lawyer? Nope, because I'm telling the truth," Grace told Raw Story. "If they convict me for telling the truth — faith is huge to me. What's going on in my country is not okay.
"You know what?" he added. "If they feel comfortable putting me in prison because I tried to protect my son, I guess I'll have to deal with that."
The charging document for Jeremy Grace references multiple videos showing Jeff Grace and Jeremy Grace marching with the Proud Boys in Washington DC prior to the assault on the Capitol.
In his comments to Cotta, Jeff Grace appeared to try to absolve the Proud Boys from responsibility for the siege on the Capitol.
"I walked with the crowd," Grace said. "And they're saying the crowd is now sponsored by Proud Boys, which I didn't see not one flag, not one hat, not one T-shirt that was black and yellow, so I'm going, 'Okay, where does this come from?'" (Proud Boys Chairman Enrique Tarrio announced on the social media platform Parler prior to Jan. 6 that on that date members would "not be wearing our traditional black and yellow" and Joe Biggs, a national leader, recorded a video saying, "We will not be attending DC in colors." Biggs is among four Proud Boys leaders who face conspiracy charges in the assault on the Capitol.)
In comments to Raw Story, Grace characterized the march as "a group of patriots," despite the fact that publicly available video plainly shows prominent Biggs and Ethan Nordean, another prominent national leader who is also charged with conspiracy, giving verbal commands to the marchers.
While distancing himself from the Proud Boys on Jan. 6, Grace has made positive comments about them since that time. ignoring the Proud Boys' track record of violence, he praised the group to Cotta as "civilians" who "have been taking it upon themselves" to act where law enforcement is perceived as failing to take a hard line against left-wing antifascist and Black Lives Matter protesters. In contrast to charges by the Proud Boys and their supporters that police are unwilling to enforce the law against Black Lives Matter protesters, journalists and researchers have repeated instances of police repression against the wave of protests following George Floyd's murder last year.
"And you know, they're willing to be men in America," Grace said of the Proud Boys. "And unfortunately, the law enforcement's hands are tied so much, so civilians have been taking it upon themselves, whether it's the Three Percenters, the Proud Boys, whatever. And are they doing it effectively? Maybe not so much. But you know what? Their heart is in it for the right reason."
Grace said the doors on the north side of the Capitol were open when he went in.
"It was like walking into Kmart," he said. "Walked — I didn't even think about it. I walked right on in. Had no intention of walking in, but followed my feet and was led by my heart."
At one point, Grace said he saw another rioter carrying what appeared to be a metal pipe and asked him to give it to him, before taking it from him and stashing it behind a statue so no one would use it. He told Raw Story, he wants to see the security footage from inside the Capitol to confirm his good deed.
A selfie-style video cited in the charging documents for Jeremy Grace shows the father and son together inside the Capitol. "Just made it into the Capitol here," Jeremy Grace reportedly says. "Oh yeah, oh yeah."
In response, Jeff Grace says, "It gets no better than this," and, "God bless America."
During his June 14 interview with Todd Cotta, Jeff Grace complained, "And I'm wondering, is that why — is that a sin or was that anti-American or what? Because I did nothing wrong in there."
Grace repeatedly emphasized in his interview with Cotta that he holds no regrets for storming the Capitol, and, if anything, is ready to defy a government that he views as "tyrannical" again.
Grace told Cotta that he "came to California to align with you," adding, "I'm not a general. And I don't want to be a general. But I want a general who thinks and acts the way that makes me proud."
Later, Cotta rhapsodized, "Our framers had it right, where there will be a time coming where we must stand up for our country and for our people."
"Exactly," Grace agreed.
"And in a government that is tyrannical, it is our responsibility to untie that knot," Cotta said.
"This is amazing," Grace marveled. "Sitting here, your heart is right where mine's at."