Judge Ousts County Official From Office Over Jan. 6 Role

Cowboys for Trump's Couy Griffin calls ruling a 'total disgrace'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 7, 2022 6:45 PM CDT
Role in Insurrection Gets Trump Ally Ousted From Office
Otero County Commissioner Couy Griffin speaks to reporters outside federal court in Washington in June.   (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe, File)

A New Mexico state district court judge on Tuesday disqualified county commissioner and Cowboys for Trump cofounder Couy Griffin from holding public office for engaging in insurrection at the US Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. The decision by Judge Francis Mathew permanently bars Griffin from federal and local public office, the AP reports. It arrived amid a spate of lawsuits aimed at sidelining political candidates and elected officials linked to the Capitol riots. Griffin was previously convicted in federal court of a misdemeanor for entering Capitol grounds on Jan. 6, without going inside the building. He was sentenced to 14 days and given credit for time served.

The new ruling immediately removes Griffin from his position as a commissioner in Otero County in southern New Mexico. He also is barred from serving as a presidential elector. "Mr. Griffin aided the insurrection even though he did not personally engage in violence," Mathew wrote. "By joining the mob and trespassing on restricted Capitol grounds, Mr. Griffin contributed to delaying Congress’s election-certification proceedings." Griffin said he was notified of his removal from office by Otero County staff, who prevented him from accessing his work computer and office space at a county building in Alamogordo.

Griffin called the ruling a "total disgrace" that disenfranchises his constituents in Otero County. "The actions that are being taken are, I believe, perfect evidence of the tyranny that we're right now living under," Griffin said. Similar lawsuits around the country are seeking to punish politicians who took part in the Jan. 6 attack under the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution, which holds that anyone who has taken an oath to uphold the Constitution can be barred from office for engaging in insurrection or rebellion. The provisions were put in place shortly after the Civil War. "It was written to deal with former Confederates ... and it's basically been dormant ever since with one or two odd exceptions,” said Gerard Magliocca, a professor at Indiana University. “There was nothing else that could be described as an insurrection against the Constitution until Jan. 6."

(More Capitol riot stories.)

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