February 1, 2021

Cowboys for Trump leader to remain in custody until trial

Couy Griffin at a Trump rally on Jan. 6, 2021, before the storming of the U.S. Capitol.

An Otero County Commissioner who also leads a pro-Trump organization will remain in federal custody ahead of his trial for his role in the Jan. 6 insurrection.

Couy Griffin, an outspoken and controversial supporter of Donald Trump, was arrested in January for entering a secure area on Jan. 6 when supporters of Trump overwhelmed police and took control of the U.S. Capitol when members of Congress were tasked with counting electoral votes. Trump and some Republicans alleged without evidence that the former president  lost the election because of voting irregularities. The mob was driven by these claims and some called for the death of Vice President Mike Pence, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and others. 

Griffin is among the 179 people who have been arrested so far in connection with the mob.

He is also among the much smaller number of those who the federal government successfully sought to keep in jail until trial.

According to Buzzfeed News, Federal Magistrate Judge Zia Faruqui said threatening statements made by Griffin in the past, like claiming “the only good Democrat is a dead Democrat” and saying “there’s gonna be blood running out of [the U.S. Capitol]” were some reasons why it was necessary for the county commissioner to remain in detention. The judge also cited Griffin’s refusal to acknowledge that Biden won the election.

Griffin was arrested on Jan. 17 after returning, as he had promised to do, to Washington D.C. for Biden’s inauguration, which happened on Jan. 20.

Griffin’s attorney argued that he had not entered the Capitol building itself, but prosecutors (?) said he entered an area that was clearly restricted.

Griffin had said in a video that Trump supporters could have a “2nd Amendment rally” on the steps of the building and continued, “if we do, then it’s gonna be a sad day, because there’s gonna be blood running out of that building. But at the end of the day, you mark my word, we will plant our flag on the desk of Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer and Donald J. Trump if it boils down to it.”

His actions in January weren’t the only time he received national attention.

In July of 2020, while Black Lives Matter protests happened nationwide, including in New Mexico, he said that black Americans who supported the playing of the Black National Anthem before NFL games should “go back to Africa.”

And in May, he made his declaration that “the only good Democrat is a dead Democrat.” Griffin claimed he meant that politically, not literally.

After his arrest, U.S. Rep. Yvette Herrell distanced herself from Griffin and removed social media posts with the two together. She continued appearing with Griffin in public after his other questionable actions and statements.