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A judge said Couy Griffin's stated remorse for January 6 conflicted with incendiary public comments.
Griffin was sentenced to 14 days in prison but credited for the 20 days he served ahead of trial.
Since he didn't enter the Capitol, Griffin was at the "minimal end of criminality," the judge said.
After already serving 20 days in jail, Cowboys for Trump founder Couy Griffin avoided additional prison time Friday as he was sentenced for his participation in the pro-Trump mob that attacked the Capitol on January 6, 2021.
Judge Trevor McFadden found Griffin guilty in March of trespassing on restricted Capitol grounds but acquitted him on a separate disorderly conduct charge. A Trump appointee, McFadden handed down the verdict because Griffin elected for a so-called bench trial, in which a judge — rather than a jury — reviews evidence and determines guilt or innocence.
In an hourlong hearing, McFadden sentenced Griffin to 14 days in prison but credited him for 20 days the Cowboys for Trump founder had served while awaiting trial. Ahead of Friday's hearing, federal prosecutors recommended that he receive 90 days in prison but receive credit for those 20 days already served — a period months below the maximum sentence of a year in custody.
McFadden also ordered Griffin, a New Mexico county commissioner, to pay a $3,000 fine and ordered a yearlong period of probation.
Handing down the sentence, McFadden called the January 6 attack on the Capitol a "national embarrassment" and a "dark day" for Washington, DC, and the country. But McFadden noted that Griffin had not entered the Capitol building itself but only trespassed on the grounds outside the building, putting him at what the judge called the "minimal end of criminality."
The sentencing effectively ruled out any further prison time for Griffin — barring a violation of his probation — in connection with his involvement in the January 6 attack. But the judge had harsh words for Griffin, who maintained during his sentencing hearing Friday that he was unaware that the grounds outside the Capitol were restricted on January 6.
McFadden dismissed that claim as "preposterous."
"I'm not convinced even a little bit," the judge said.
In court papers, federal prosecutors said Griffin bragged about his involvement in the Capitol attack at a county commission meeting. Prosecutors also pointed to more recent social media posts and statements in which Griffin appeared to mock his March guilty verdict and display a lack of contrition for the Capitol attack, underscoring how January 6 defendants have talked themselves into deeper trouble amid their criminal proceedings.
McFadden said the "vast majority" of Capitol rioters who remained outside the building were "not charged at all," and he suggested that Griffin only faced prosecution if he hadn't "gone to such lengths to publicize his actions."
"You're probably your own worst enemy here," McFadden said.
McFadden is so far the only judge on the Washington, DC, federal trial court who has acquitted a January 6 defendant on all charges. A month after Griffin's trial, McFadden acquitted a New Mexico engineer of misdemeanor charges.
Addressing McFadden on Friday, Griffin said he was "very sorry" for the violence of January 6 and described as "disgraceful" the many assaults on police who were protecting the Capitol.
But McFadden said Griffin's claimed contrition felt "in conflict" with his tweets and public statements. And he said there was "grave tension" between Griffin's conduct on January 6 and his oath as a county commissioner in New Mexico to protect and defend the Constitution.
Read the original article on Business Insider