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.

Couy Griffin, who is also a county commissioner in New Mexico, was arrested by the FBI on Jan. 17 and charged with “knowingly entering or remaining in a restricted building or grounds without lawful entry” after video supposedly showed him breaching the Capitol grounds, according to the Justice Department. According to a Washignton judge, that just wasn’t the case…

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. 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.”

“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.

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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.

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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.


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