Judge releases New Mexico county official charged in Capitol riot

However, after a hearing on Friday, U.S. District Court judge Beryl Howell overturned that decision. Howell has voiced her outrage over the January 6 uprising and underscored that sentiment Friday, but she said Griffin’s alleged actions did not make him the legally guilty of the uprising.

“Unlike most of the bold rioters, he was not armed and left the Capitol grounds peacefully,” Howell said. “He was not a participant in the violent break-in of the Capitol or the looting mob that roamed the legislature halls on January 6, and the indictment he now faces reflects that fact.”

Griffin faces a felony charge for entering an area with limited intelligence.

Howell acknowledged that Griffin’s statements – including one stating “the only good Democrat is a dead Democrat” – caused legitimate anger.

“These are all words that are deeply troubling, especially when viewed in the context of the defendant’s decision to return to DC with firearms just before the presidential inauguration on Jan. 20,” she said.

“His words undoubtedly reflect a strong belief that when he talks about fellow Americans, there are many in this country who are unpatriotic, obnoxious, opposed to the democratic process, and certainly detrimental to American body politics,” Howell said, pausing for the last sentence to emphasize.

The judge denied Griffin’s attorneys’ allegations that his statements should not be considered part of the detention issue, but they said they did not mean he was likely to ignore the court’s orders.

Howell also expressed concern that, given the delays related to the pandemic, Griffin would potentially spend more time waiting for the trial than he would be convicted if found guilty in the case.

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