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'An attempt to stop democracy': Cowboys for Trump leader ordered detained in Capitol riot case

Kevin Johnson, USA TODAY
·2 min read
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A New Mexico county commissioner and founder of the group "Cowboys for Trump," was ordered to remain in custody Monday, charged with breaching restricted areas of the Capitol complex during the Jan. 6 riots while later threatening to return for the inauguration with weapons.

A federal magistrate said Couy Griffin's actions were part of "an attempt to stop democracy from moving forward," adding that "no combination of conditions" would ensure his presence at future court proceedings.

Although Griffin, 47, is charged with one misdemeanor count, U.S. Magistrate Zia Faruqui said the "nature of the offense is quite horrific."

Prosecutors argued that Griffin, who had met multiple times with President Donald Trump, posed both a risk of flight and to public safety citing the suspect's remarks at a Jan. 14, Otero County, New Mexico, Commission meeting when he talked about returning to Washington for the inauguration with a rifle and handgun.

"Specifically, the defendant stated: 'I am going to leave either tonight or tomorrow. I’ve got a .357 Henry big boy rifle . . . that I got in the trunk of my car, and I’ve got a .357 single action revolver . . . that I will have underneath the front seat on my right side.' "

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Griffin's lawyers have noted that Griffin is not accused of violent acts or of entering the Capitol building.

Rather, attorneys said that during the rioting Griffin "got caught up in the crowd, which eventually pushed through the barricades."

Supporters of then-President Donald Trump try to break through a police barrier at the Capitol in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021.
Supporters of then-President Donald Trump try to break through a police barrier at the Capitol in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021.

"(He) saw many people scaling walls and scaffolding to get up to the Capitol’s front patio," defense attorneys said in court documents. "In his area, there were people flying flags, but no one violent. . ."

Attorney David Smith argued that Griffin deserved to be released pending a resolution of the case.

"He's not a crazy person even though he has made some unfortunate statements," Smith said.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Cowboys for Trump leader Griffin ordered detained in riot case