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Justin Schatz is The Paper's daily news reporter. He has reported on New Mexico for KRQE News, Searchlight NM and the Santa Fe Reporter.

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Couy Griffin, one of the most recognizable faces associated with the Trump movement in New Mexico, had yet another appearance in court today. The Otero County commissioner was in front of a federal judge on Tuesday to further determine Griffin’s role during the Capitol Siege on Jan. 6. Griffin claims that he was unaware of any restrictions or the violent course that the rally would take that day. He also says that he never went inside the Capitol, and he expected the event to be a peaceful rally. Unfortunately, for Griffin, video shot by his cameraman and posted to the Cowboys for Trump Facebook page tells a different story. In the video, Griffin excitedly calls for a second rally on Inauguration Day to “plant our flag” on the desks of Speaker Pelosi, new Senate Majority Leader Schumer and even President Trump, “if we have to.” The defense added that it was unclear whether or not that the Secret Service had restricted the area and if that was in coordination with local law enforcement. 

Prosecutors confirmed that there was sufficient evidence that the Secret Service did indeed restrict access to the Capitol in coordination with law enforcement. This directly contradicts Griffin’s claim that he was unaware that any measures were taken to restrict access or that he was in violation of any security measures. The judge wanted to push Griffin’s next hearing back several months. 

The defense was firmly against the motion, referring to it as a “waste of the court’s time,” and pushed to continue the case—but to no avail. Griffin spoke at the end of the hearing. “I would like your honor to know that there is a recall effort against me right now. I’ve already been tried and sentenced by the local liberal media back home against me. It’s easy for some, but not easy for me,” he said. In an effort to appeal to the judge and prosecutors, Griffin emphasized that, “I’m a man of character, I’m a man of conviction.” 

Griffin has reason to be worried regarding his position in Otero County. The two other Otero commissioners, Gerald Matherly and Vickie Marquardt, both Republicans, contacted local media calling for Griffin’s resignation due to his involvement in the Capitol Siege. He is currently appealing a recall vote led by Otero County residents. If allowed, a recall petition against Griffin with a sufficient number of signatures could trigger a special election within months.

Griffin also spoke about the effects that this trial has had on his personal life. “I would like to let you know that this is an extremely painful process for me and for my family,” Griffin said. “It is a daily attack and a daily character assassination,” he added. 

Despite his impassioned plea for a speedy trial, the judge pushed Griffin’s next hearing to June 30.  

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