‘Cowboys for Trump’ founder faces U.S. Capitol riot criminal trial

By Jan Wolfe

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A New Mexico county commissioner who based a gaggle known as “Cowboys for Trump” faces trial on Monday on prices associated to the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the U.S. Capitol, in an necessary check for prosecutors that would have an effect on different legal instances.

A federal choose within the District of Columbia is scheduled to carry a one-day trial for Couy Griffin, who’s charged with breaching a restricted space protected by the U.S. Secret Service and fascinating in disorderly conduct in that space.

U.S. legal defendants have a proper to a jury trial, however Griffin has opted to be tried by a choose as a substitute.

Griffin photographed himself on the Capitol through the riot, and doesn’t deny that he entered a barricaded space.

However Griffin has disputed whether or not then-Vice President Mike Pence and his Secret Service brokers had been on the Capitol when he breached the constructing’s grounds. Griffin argues prosecutors are required to indicate Pence’s whereabouts, and to show Griffin knew of these whereabouts.

Prosecutors have interpreted the regulation extra broadly, saying it solely requires that Griffin breached a Secret Service-protected zone that space Pence was in or can be returning to.

U.S. District Choose Trevor McFadden, the choose presiding over the case, will resolve whether or not Griffin is responsible. It’s unclear if McFadden will situation his ruling from the bench on Monday or in a later written choice.

1000’s of individuals stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, after a fiery speech during which then-President Donald Trump falsely claimed his election defeat was the results of widespread fraud, an assertion rejected by a number of courts, state election officers and members of his personal administration.

About 800 folks face legal prices regarding the riot, which despatched Pence and different lawmakers working for his or her lives, and a few 200 have already pleaded responsible.

Griffin’s bench trial is seen as an necessary check case because the Justice Division makes an attempt to safe convictions from the lots of of defendants who haven’t taken plea offers.

The primary jury trial for a Jan. 6 defendant led to a decisive victory for prosecutors earlier this month. After a fast deliberation, a jury unanimously discovered a Texas man responsible on all 5 of the felony prices he confronted, together with bringing a gun onto the Capitol grounds and obstructing an official continuing.

(Reporting by Jan Wolfe; Modifying by Scott Malone and Nick Macfie)

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