In a district court decision on Tuesday, a judge ruled that the January 6 attack on the Capitol was an insurrection for the first time to remove a participant in the attack from elected office in New Mexico.
District Court Judge Francis Mathew has ordered Cowboys for Trump founder Couy Griffin to be removed from his post as a county commissioner in New Mexico, which he has held since 2019, for his participation in the insurrection.
Couy will also be barred from holding public office ever again. This is the first time that a court has barred a public official from office since 1869 under the Disqualification Clause of the 14th Amendment, according to Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), which aided in the case against Griffin.
Griffin was removed as a result of violating public officials’ oath, which bars those who have “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” or aided insurrectionists from holding office. He has been ordered to remove his belongings from his office.
In the decision, Mathew wrote that Griffin’s arguments “to sanitize his actions” are meritless and without evidence, calling them “nothing more than attempting to put lipstick on a pig.”
“The irony of Mr. Griffin’s argument that this Court should refrain from applying the law and consider the will of the people in District Two of Otero County who retained him as a county commissioner against a recall effort as he attempts to defend his participation in an insurrection by a mob whose goal, by his own admission, was to set aside the results of a free, fair and lawful election by a majority of the people of the entire country (the will of the people) has not escaped this Court,” Mathew continued.
An eyewitness had testified that Griffin not only participated in the attack, but also acted as a leader among the Trump militants, according to CREW. Mathew said that Griffin and Cowboys for Trump had “spent months normalizing that violence may be necessary to keep President Trump in office” and called on their followers to join them in attending the attack.
Griffin was also a speaker on a bus tour to D.C. in the days preceding the attack, the goal of which was to “inflame” crowds into joining the “war” and “battle” that they were waging against the election results. He brought several guns on the trip, despite the fact that gun ownership and carrying are highly regulated in D.C.
“This decision makes clear that any current or former public officials who took an oath to defend the U.S. Constitution and then participated in the January 6th insurrection can and will be removed and barred from government service for their actions,” CREW President Noah Bookbinder said in a statement.
Earlier this year, Griffin was convicted for his participation in the attempted coup and served 14 days in jail, with credit for time served, for crossing over three walls and entering a restricted area on Capitol grounds. Video evidence shows him leading a prayer on the stage where President Joe Biden was set to be inaugurated.