January 19, 2021

Government argues Griffin should remain in detention ahead of trial because of ‘inflammatory, racist, and at least borderline threatening advocacy’

Joe Gratz


In a court filing on Tuesday, the federal government argued that Otero County Commissioner Couy Griffin should remain in custody because of the danger he poses to the public, and “a disdain for legal authority.”

Griffin is the leader of the political group Cowboys for Trump, a pro-Donald Trump group that has led protests in New Mexico and in other states, sometimes with the participation of other Republican politicians, such as U.S. Rep. Yvette Herrell (who recently deleted some social media posts and videos involving Griffin).

Federal authorities arrested Griffin on Sunday over his role in the Jan. 6 insurrection where a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol, overwhelming police and threatening the lives of the Vice President and members of Congress.

Griffin is accused of unlawfully being inside the restricted area surrounding the U.S. Capitol. Griffin said, according to filings, that he was “caught up” in the crowd.

Authorities have arrested dozens in connection to the event, and promise many more investigations.

As for Griffin, a U.S. Attorney’s office cited Griffin’s “inflammatory, racist, and at least borderline threatening advocacy” as one reason why he should not be released ahead of trial.

The filing also cited that Griffin, recently divorced, was barred from in-person visits with his son “following social media posts that have generated threats and for refusing to abide by COVID-19 mask requirements, thereby placing his son’s safety at risk” and also a conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

His employment status was also mentioned in the filing.

“The defendant has no established profession, whether as cowboy, cowboy actor, restauranteur, or otherwise,” they said, listing some of his former professions. Griffin is an Otero County Commissioner, though that is not a full-time position.

They also quoted an interview he gave to a TV news reporter, who asked Griffin when he said “blood running out of the” Capitol if it was a threat, and Griffin responded “it is” but then denied he would engage in violence.

The filing argued that he “traveled across country to participate in an unlawful protest that aimed to overturn a lawful election” then returned to D.C. “as he stated he would” in a county commission meeting.

Later on Tuesday, the other two members of the Otero County Commission—both Republicans—called on Griffin to resign.

In a statement, the two, Gerald Matherly and Vickie Marquardt, said, “from his first day as an Otero County Commissioner has devoted himself to promoting his Cowboys for Trump organization rather than being a county commissioner who serves the citizens of Otero County who elected him.”

They also noted Griffin “has been banished from the Mescalero Apache Reservation” and “he has made racist statements.”

“His actions have consumed an enormous amount of time of county staff, who must deal with the drama he instigates at the expense of attending to public business,” they wrote.

If Griffin does not resign, the two said they would support both the recall process against Griffin and the effort by the state Attorney General to remove Griffin from office.

This weekend, Attorney General Hector Balderas had called on Griffin to resign.

Update: Added information from the county commissioners calling on Couy Griffin to resign.