WASHINGTON (AP) — An elected official who was a central figure in a Latest Mexico county’s refusal to certify recent election results based on debunked conspiracy theories about voting machines avoided more jail time on Friday for joining the mob that attacked the U.S. Capitol.
Couy Griffin, who founded the political group Cowboys for Trump, was sentenced to 14 days imprisonment. U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden gave Griffin credit for the 20 days he already served in jail after his arrest.
Federal prosecutors and a probation officer had each really helpful a sentence of three months imprisonment. Griffin faced a maximum prison sentence of 1 12 months for his misdemeanor conviction.
After a trial with no jury, McFadden convicted Griffin in March of entering a restricted area outside the Capitol throughout the riot on Jan. 6, 2021, but acquitted him of a disorderly conduct charge. Griffin didn’t go into the constructing itself and wasn’t accused of engaging in any violence or destruction.
McFadden, who was nominated by President Donald Trump, also ordered Griffin to pay a $3,000 effective and $500 in restitution and perform 60 hours of community service.
The punishment for Griffin’s role within the riot that delayed the certification of President Joe Biden’s victory and sent lawmakers running for his or her lives got here the identical day Griffin’s Republican-dominated county commission faced a deadline to certify its election results.
Otero County commissioners opted 2-1 to certify the outcomes during an emergency meeting Friday. Griffin alone refused to certify, joining the meeting remotely hours after his sentencing in Washington. The 2 who voted to certify said they’d no selection under state law and may very well be only a rubber stamp. Additionally they acknowledged an order by the state Supreme Court and subsequent threats of legal motion by the Democratic state attorney general.
While there was no evidence of fraud, the actions by the commission had threatened to disenfranchise greater than 7,300 voters within the politically conservative area of southern Latest Mexico.
During his sentencing, Griffin claimed the commission “found major discrepancies” in an election audit. He didn’t elaborate but said, “That’s all we would like, is transparency and truth.”
McFadden said he didn’t factor that situation into his sentencing of Griffin. However the judge said public officials like Griffin should be held to the next standard.
“We’d like our elected officials to support this country,” McFadden said.
In the course of the riot, Griffin shouted his unsubstantiated belief that the election was stolen from Trump, climbed a toppled fence and one other barrier to access the Capitol steps and used a bullhorn to guide the throngs in prayer.
Griffin told McFadden that he only went to the Capitol to hope with others.
“My actions on Jan. 6 were the results of my faith,” he said.
McFadden said the Capitol riot was a “national embarrassment” and called it “preposterous” for Griffin to assert that he didn’t know he couldn’t be on Capitol grounds on Jan. 6.
“I’m not convinced, even just a little bit,” the judge said.
A day after the Capitol siege, Griffin made a social media video expressing his intention to return to Washington and talking in regards to the prospect of holding a gun rights rally on the Capitol steps, saying “there’s gonna be blood running out of that constructing.”
“But at the top of the day, you mark my word, we are going to plant our flag on the desk of Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer and Donald J. Trump if it boils all the way down to it,” Griffin said.
At the least 21 riot defendants have pleaded guilty to a single count of the identical misdemeanor charge that Griffin was convicted of by the judge. Judges handed down prison sentences starting from 10 days to 3 months in 14 of those cases, in response to an AP review of court records.
Prosecutors said Griffin has shown a scarcity of contrition for his actions throughout the attack. Griffin bragged at a county commission meeting about violating orders from police to remain out of the restricted area, has spread conspiracy theories about what happened on Jan. 6 and has made social media posts that questioned the conclusions of the judge overseeing his case, prosecutors said.
Defense attorney Nicholas Smith maintained Griffin is remorseful and believes he received a good trial.
However the judge said Griffin’s lack of contrition and apparent disdain for the criminal justice system is “very concerning.”
Griffin is one in every of the few riot defendants who isn’t accused of entering the Capitol constructing or engaging in any violent or destructive behavior.
Greater than 800 people have been charged with federal crimes related to the Jan. 6 riot. Over 300 of them have pleaded guilty and nearly 200 have been sentenced.
Billeaud reported from Phoenix. Associated Press reporter Morgan Lee in Santa Fe, Latest Mexico, contributed to this report.