A federal judge has now ruled against a claim from a participant in the January Capitol riot that he is facing federal criminal charges because of his support for ex-President Donald Trump. Notably enough, the judge — Trevor McFadden — was actually appointed by Trump himself. The rioter in question is Couy Griffin, who founded an organization called “Cowboys for Trump” and technically still sits on the Otero County Commission in New Mexico. Just recently, opponents of Griffin have begun circulating a petition asking for signatures in favor of what’s called a recall election, when voters would have an opportunity to weigh in on removing him from office.
Meanwhile, McFadden concluded that Griffin “comes up short on providing the ‘clear evidence’ required” to prove his claim that he’d been charged because of his support for Trump. Discussing the fact that rioters who were around Griffin have not (yet at least) faced charges, McFadden added that authorities “could rationally forgo federal prosecution as to most trespassers while deciding that Griffin’s leadership role in the crowd, position as an elected official, and more blatant conduct at the scene merited him different treatment.” Although Griffin did not enter the building, he climbed up a wall at the Capitol.
McFadden also addressed Griffin’s argument that Capitol rioters had been treated more harshly than the anti-Brett Kavanaugh demonstrators who were arrested on the Capitol grounds. The judge said that allegation is “not a basis to dismiss the charges.” For now, Griffin — who has pleaded not guilty — remains out of federal custody as he awaits trial. In the past, he has spread openly violent rhetoric, including the assertion that “the only good Democrat is a dead Democrat,” although he said, dubiously, that he didn’t mean those remarks “in the physical sense.” Griffin has also spoken of “blood running” from the Capitol in the hypothetical event of Trump-supporting rioters returning to the premises.
So far, over 500 Trump supporters have been charged for their participation in the deadly January riot. All of them perpetrated their criminal charge-warranting activity under the inspiration of Donald Trump and his lies about the integrity of last year’s presidential election.