Judge allows 'Cowboys for Trump' leader to be released from jail

A federal district court judge is allowing the leader of a group called "Cowboys for Trump" to be released from jail while he's awaiting trial on charges stemming from the Capitol riot, reversing a magistrate judge's order that he be detained.

Couy Griffin, who's also a county commissioner in New Mexico, is facing a single charge of unlawful entry, largely based on comments he made on social media about his participation in the riot.

A magistrate judge this week had ordered that Griffin be held without bail, arguing that his comments about the illegitimacy of the 2020 election and Congress's certification of the results conjured doubts that he would be willing to follow the court's orders.


Judge Beryl Howell, the chief judge of the U.S. District Court for D.C., disagreed on Friday, noting that Griffin is not alleged to have entered the Capitol building during the riots and does not appear to be a flight risk.

"The defendant's charged conduct was largely peaceful, his contemporaneous and subsequent statements, while provocative, do not suggest that there are no combination of conditions that could assure his appearance in court," Howell said during a hearing.

Prosecutors have alleged in court documents that Griffin boasted on social media of his presence at the pro-Trump rally that turned into a violent mob that stormed the Capitol last month, saying in a since-deleted video on Facebook that he "climbed up on top of the Capitol building and ... had a first row seat."

He had also defended the demonstration, denying that the group was violent but warned that if they were to return to the Capitol for a Second Amendment rally, "there’s gonna be blood running out of that building."

Griffin and his group have organized rallies in support of Trump in the past and he has spoken with the former president several times, according to the Cowboys for Trump website.