WASHINGTON ( Associated Press) — An elected official, a central figure in New Mexico County who refused to certify recent election results based on conspiracy theories about voting machines, attacked the US Capitol on Friday. Joining the mob that saved more jail time.
Coy Griffin, who founded the political group Cowboys for Trump, was sentenced to 14 days in prison. US District Judge Trevor McFadden credited Griffin with having already served 20 days in prison after his arrest.
Federal prosecutors and a probation officer had both recommended a sentence of three months’ imprisonment. Griffin faced a maximum sentence of one year in prison for his misdemeanor charge.
After a trial without a jury, McFadden pleaded guilty in March to Griffin of entering a restricted area outside the Capitol during a January 6, 2021 riot, but acquitted him of a disorderly conduct charge. Griffin himself did not go into the building and was not charged with any violence or involvement in the destruction.
McFadden, who was nominated by President Donald Trump, also ordered Griffin to pay a $3,000 fine and $500 in damages and perform 60 hours of community service.
The sentencing for Griffin’s role in the riots that delayed the certification of President Joe Biden’s victory and sent lawmakers for their lives met Griffin’s Republican-dominated county commission on the same day as a deadline to certify his election results. had to face.
Otero County commissioners opted 2-1 to certify the results during an emergency meeting on Friday. Griffin alone declined to testify, attending the meeting hours after the sentencing in Washington. The two who voted to certify said they had no choice under state law and could only be a rubber stamp. He also acknowledged threats from a state Supreme Court order and subsequent legal action by the Democratic state attorney general.
While no evidence of fraud has been found, the commission’s actions threatened to disenfranchise more than 7,300 voters in the politically conservative region of southern New Mexico.
During his sentencing, Griffin claimed that the commission “found large discrepancies” in the election audit. He didn’t elaborate, but said, “That’s all we want, there is transparency and truth.”
McFadden said he did not factor that situation into Griffin’s sentencing. But the judge said public officials like Griffin should be held to a higher standard.
“We need our elected officials to support this country,” McFadden said.
During the riots, Griffin shouted out his unfounded belief that the election had been stolen from Trump, climbed a broken fence and another barrier to reach the Capitol stairs, and used a bullhorn to lead the crowd into prayer. .
Griffin tells MacFadden that he only went to the Capitol to pray with the others.
“My actions on January 6 were the result of my faith,” he said.
McFadden said the Capitol riot was a “national embarrassment” and that it was “absurd” for Griffin to claim that he did not know he could not be at the Capitol grounds on January 6.
“I’m not convinced, even in the slightest,” said the judge.
A day after the Capitol siege, Griffin made a social media video expressing his intention to return to Washington and talking about the possibility of holding a gun rights rally on the Capitol Steps, saying, “Blood from that building Is.”
“But at the end of the day, you mark my word, we will put our flag on the tables of Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer and Donald J. Trump, if it boils down to it,” Griffin said.
At least 21 riot defendants have pleaded guilty to the same count of the same misdemeanor charge that Griffin was convicted of by the judge. Judges sentenced prison terms ranging from 10 days to three months in those 14 cases, according to an Associated Press review of court records.
Prosecutors said Griffin showed a lack of remorse for his actions during the attack. Prosecutors said Griffin bragged about violating police orders to stay out of the restricted area at a county commission meeting, spreading conspiracy theories about what happened on January 6, and making social media posts that showed the judge The findings were questioned, prosecutors said. ,
Defense attorney Nicholas Smith said Griffin regrets and believes he received a fair trial.
But the judge said Griffin’s lack of remorse and apparent disdain for the criminal justice system is “very worrying.”
Griffin is one of the few riot defendants who are not charged with entering the Capitol Building or engaging in any violent or destructive behavior.
More than 800 people have been charged with federal crimes related to the January 6 riots. More than 300 of them have pleaded guilty and nearly 200 have been sentenced.
Billoud from Phoenix reported. Associated Press reporter Morgan Lee in Santa Fe, New Mexico contributed to this report.