Couy Griffin, incarcerated in the nation’s capital, is still an Otero County commissioner.
The leader of the political group Cowboys for Trump was arrested by the FBI on Sunday in Washington for his alleged involvement in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas said he intends to see Griffin removed from his elected office.
Balderas said his office is aiding the federal investigation into Griffin, 47 — who is charged with knowingly entering or remaining in a restricted building or grounds without lawful authority — while also gathering evidence for a criminal probe into Griffin’s time on the Otero County Commission.
“We’re hopeful the federal prosecution will move rather quickly and the evidence presented there will help make the case for his removal clearer,” Balderas said Monday. “The general public should be outraged about what he’s been able to do while in office.”
Balderas called Sunday for Griffin to resign. In a letter to Griffin, Balderas accused the commissioner of misusing public office for personal gain, neglecting his duties and participating in the Jan. 6 attack.
Balderas said if Griffin doesn’t resign, he will take all appropriate legal action to seek his removal.
“An elected office is a public trust, and no official should use it to encourage violence and attack Americans,” Balderas wrote in the letter.
Balderas said he is investigating Griffin for misuse of campaign funds and tax dollars since he was elected in November 2018.
While Griffin could be convicted of a federal crime, that alone wouldn’t lead to his removal from the commission. Balderas said the state would need a judge to sign off on either a writ in a civil procedure or a jury trial in a criminal procedure to oust Griffin.
“The reason I haven’t quite determined the final course of action for removal is almost every law enforcement agency is still actively investigating multiple layers of the incident at the Capitol,” Balderas said. “There’s the ongoing federal investigation, as well as our own criminal investigation about what he’s done in New Mexico.”
ABC News footage from the Capitol riot shows Griffin, who has led pro-Trump rallies at the New Mexico Roundhouse, on the building’s steps within the restricted area that was breached by the protesters.
Griffin acknowledged during a Jan. 14 County Commission meeting he had participated in the Jan. 6 attack and planned to return to the nation’s capital for Inauguration Day, according to an affidavit filed in the federal District Court for the District
“I’ve got a .357 Henry big boy rifle that I got in the trunk of my car and I’ve got a .357 single action revolver that I will have underneath the front seat on my right side,” Griffin told the three-person commission, the affidavit said.
“And I will embrace my Second Amendment,” he continued. “I will keep my right to bear arms, my vehicle is an extension of my home in regard to the Constitution law, and I have a right to have those firearms in my car.”
Otero County Commissioner Gerald Matherly declined to comment on Griffin’s status Monday. Commissioner Vickie Marquardt did not respond to calls and emails for comment.
According to the affidavit, the FBI also reviewed since-removed videos on Griffin’s Facebook page in which he reportedly explained his involvement in the attack on the U.S. Capitol and his plans to return with firearms by Inauguration Day.
In an interview with FBI agents, Griffin said he planned to attend the inauguration and put the American flag on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s desk with “no option that’s off the table for the sake of freedom,” the affidavit said.
Griffin has become known for his inflammatory political rhetoric, making national headlines for remarks that seemed to be calling for violence.
In May, he said Democratic governors should be executed for enacting public safety orders restricting business operations during the coronavirus pandemic.
He also said at a church in Truth or Consequences that “the only good Democrat is a dead Democrat.”
He has insisted he wasn’t speaking literally at the time.