A Washington Judge ordered the release Friday of a New Mexico county official and Cowboys for Trump founder who was charged for crossing police lines at the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
Otero County Commissioner Cuoy Griffin has been held in custody since his arrest near the Capitol three days prior to the inauguration of President Joe Biden, Politico reported. A Washington magistrate judge ordered Griffin’s detention given his history of threats levied toward elected officials and deemed him a flight risk.
Chief U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell overturned the prior decision, according to Politico. Howell said that Griffin’s alleged misconduct at the riot did not fit in with the most “brazen” and armed rioters. Howell added that Griffin left the Capitol grounds “peacefully.” (RELATED: Ocasio-Cortez Describes Hiding In Her Bathroom During Riot, Questions Whether Officer Purposefully Put Her At Risk)
“He was not a participant in the violent break-in at the Capitol or the marauding mob roaming the halls of the legislative branch of government on Jan. 6, and the charge he now faces reflects that fact,” Howell said.
A prominent judge in Washington issued a surprise order today freeing a New Mexico county official who is charged with breaching police lines during the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. https://t.co/TvbojFQA2P
— POLITICO (@politico) February 5, 2021
Howell dismissed Griffin’s attorney’s assertion that threatening statements targeting elected officials fell under the protection of the first amendment, according to Politico. Howell also said Griffin’s words did not indicate he would dismiss court orders.
“These are all words that are deeply disturbing, especially when considered in conjunction with the defendant’s decision to return with firearms to D.C. shortly before the presidential inauguration on Jan. 20,” Howell said.
“His words certainly reflect strong convictions that many in this country would consider unpatriotic, obnoxious, repugnant to the democratic process and certainly harmful to the American body politic, when he’s talking about fellow Americans,” Howell continued.
Howell concluded that, due to delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the time Griffin might spend waiting for trial could possibly exceed his sentence, Politico reported. Griffin is facing charges of entering an area restricted by the Secret Service.