‘Cowboys for Trump’ leader, charged with storming the US Capitol, will remain behind bars

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In this March 12, 2019, file photo, Cowboys for Trump leader and Otero County Commissioner Couy Griffin, center, talks with Republican New Mexico state Rep. Candy Ezzell of Roswell, NM. Griffin was arrested on charges of illegally entering the US Capitol.

The leader of the far-right group “Cowboys for Trump,” charged with entering restricted grounds at the US Capitol and held in solitary confinement after refusing to be tested for COVID-19, will not be released before he stands trial, a US judge ruled Monday.

Couy Griffin, an elected Republican county commissioner in New Mexico, was arrested on January 17 in Washington, DC, where he was taken into custody by the FBI.

Griffin had days earlier pledged to bring guns to the capital on the day of President Joe Biden’s inauguration. He was arrested, however, over his role in the January 6 insurrection aimed at overturning the 2020 election, prosecutors charging him with entering restricted grounds at the US Capitol.

On Monday, prosecutors argued that Griffin is a flight risk and cited concern about his vow to bring arms to DC, as BuzzFeed’s Zoe Tillman reported. Griffin’s lawyer, David B. Smith, in turn, argued that his client is not a “crazy person” but rather someone who has just made “unfortunate statements” (said Griffin of the US Capitol: “There will be blood running from that building“).

In a court filing, the attorney also maintained that the government had not proved that Griffin poses a “serious” flight risk; he also insisted that Griffin only intended to bring firearms to the capital for personal protection. He has also now taken a coronavirus test, releasing him from 14 days of isolation.

But US Magistrate Judge Zia M. Faruqui sided with the state, ruling that Griffin should remain subject to pretrial detention. His reasoning, per Albuquerque’s The Paper: “He seems competent, but those statements, and the fact that he clearly does not believe in the rule of law and that I as a judge am part of a machine, and [he] is in denial of the fact that he participated in a riot that tried to disrupt the democratic process.”

Monday’s hearing was originally scheduled for last month, but the defendant refused to participate.

If convicted, Griffin faces up to 10 years in prison.

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‘Cowboys for Trump’ co-founder who stormed Capitol is in isolation for refusing COVID-19 test in detention

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Otero County Commission Chairman and Cowboys for Trump co-founder Couy Griffin rides his horse on 5th avenue on May 1, 2020 in New York City.

  • ‘Cowboys for Trump’ founder and Otero County Commissioner Couy Griffin demands release from federal custody.
  • He was arrested related to storming the Capitol and that day posted videos threatening lawmakers.
  • In one video, Griffin claimed rioters would return on January 20, and “blood will run out of the building.”
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

“Cowboys for Trump” founder and Otero County Commissioner Couy Griffin is asking to be released from isolation in federal custody. He was placed in isolation after refusing both a COVID-19 test and to show up to his first hearing, according to court documents.

Last week, Griffin was arrested by US Capitol Police in Washington, DC, and charged with “knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority” and “intent to impede or disrupt the orderly conduct of Government business.” 

According to documents, Griffin’s lawyer filed a motion for his client’s release, saying that he was struggling in isolation. In response, the judge said that “simply taking a COVID-19 test, something hundreds of millions of people have safely done across the world, will allow the defendant to exit isolation.”

The judge also added that Griffin must show up to a hearing on February 1 or remain in detention and that he could be held in contempt.

According to KOB4, Griffin posted a series of videos of himself in DC on January 6. In one video, Griffin called for more rioting, while in another he claimed rioters would return on January 20 and said “blood will run out of the building.” 

He also claimed he wanted to plant a flag on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s desk.

Prior to his arrest, Griffin attended an Otero County Commission meeting and stated his intention to show up to DC on inauguration day bearing arms. 

According to court documents, federal investigators said Griffin was a danger to the community and called for him to be held without bond. “The defendant has no established profession, whether as cowboy, cowboy actor, restaurateur, or otherwise,” filing charges said. 

In May, Griffin spoke at an event where he said, “the only good Democrat is a dead Democrat.” Later in the speech he claimed the quote was a metaphor.

At the time, Donald Trump retweeted the video and said, “Thank you Cowboys. See you in New Mexico!” 

In January, Donald Trump and Cowboys for Trump’s Twitter accounts were suspended.

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‘Cowboys for Trump’ leader detained by FBI after pledging to bring guns to DC

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Otero County Commissioner Couy Griffin speaks Friday, Jan. 31, 2020, in Santa Fe, N.M., as hundreds of advocates for gun rights rallied at the New Mexico Statehouse against a proposed red-flag gun law that has the support of Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.

  • Couy Griffin, the founder of “Cowboys for Trump,” was arrested Sunday in Washington, DC, after pledging to bring guns to the city on the day of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.
  • Griffin, an ally of President Trump with a history of inflammatory and racist remarks, is an elected Republican county commissioner in New Mexico.
  • The FBI’s Washington Field Office told Insider that Griffin was detained by US Capitol Police due to an arrest warrant over his participation in the January 6 insurrection.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The far-right leader of “Cowboys for Trump” has been arrested in Washington, DC, after last week pledging to bring guns to the nation’s capital on the day of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.

In a statement, the FBI’s Washington Field Office told Insider that Couy Griffin, an elected Republican county commissioner in New Mexico, was detained Sunday afternoon by US Capitol Police, who then notified the bureau. Griffin “was the subject of an arrest warrant for his role in the January 6 Capitol riots,” the FBI said.

A criminal complaint, dated January 15, accuses Griffin of entering restricted grounds without lawful authority.

A police affidavit in support of the complaint cites videos posted to Griffin’s Facebook page – since deleted – where he boasts of attending the January 6 insurrection and pledges to return in order to plant a US flag on the desk of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

“We could have a 2nd Amendment rally on those same steps that we had that rally [on January 6],” Griffin said in another video. “You know, and if we do, then it’s gonna be a sad day, because there’s gonna be blood running out of that building.”

As Insider reported last week, Griffin reaffirmed his intent to travel again to Washington, DC, for Biden’s inauguration, stating at a January 14 Otero County commissioners hearing that he would be bringing two guns in his car along with him. One, he said, would be placed under the front passenger seat – a violation of DC law, which prohibits keeping any firearm within reach of a vehicle’s occupant.

“I embrace my Second Amendment, I will keep my right to bear arms, my vehicle is an extension of my home in regard to the constitution law, and I have a right to have those firearms in my car,” he asserted. Those remarks are cited in the police affidavit used to request a warrant for his arrest.

Griffin has a history of making inflammatory and racist remarks. Last year, he declared that “the only good Democrat is a dead Democrat” in a video that was shared on Twitter by President Donald Trump; he also declared that supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement should “go back to Africa.”

Democrats are calling for him to leave public office.

“I am demanding that Couy Griffin immediately resign from the Otero County Commission or my office will seek his removal,” New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas said Sunday.

The local Republican Party, for its part, is distancing itself from Griffin.

“Mr. Griffin does not represent The Republican Party of New Mexico nor does he speak for the party,” Mike Curtis, a party spokesperson, told Insider. The state GOP “does not endorse or condone the statements made by [the] Cowboys for Trump founder,” he said, and “condemns violence and any threats of violence against any person or group.”

Griffin could not immediately be reached for comment.

Have a news tip? Email this reporter: cdavis@insider.com

 

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