Prosecutors offer plea deal to founder of Cowboys for Trump

Crime & Safety

Otero County Commissioner Couy Griffin, the founder of Cowboys for Trump, takes in the view from his ranch in Tularosa, N.M., on Wednesday, May 12, 2021. Griffin is reviled and revered in politically conservative Otero County as he confronts criminal charges for joining protests on an outdoor terrace of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. He’s also fighting for his political future amid a recall initiative and state probes into his finances. (AP Photo/Morgan Lee)

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Federal prosecutors have offered a confidential plea agreement to Cowboys for Trump founder Couy Griffin that might resolve misdemeanor criminal charges against him linked to the Jan. 6 siege on the U.S. Capitol, according to discussions at a Monday court hearing in Washington.

The county commissioner from New Mexico still denies federal charges that he knowingly entered barricaded areas of the Capitol grounds with the intent of disrupting government as Congress considered the 2020 Electoral College results.

Griffin reached an outside terrace of the Capitol without entering the building and used a bullhorn to try to lead a tumultuous crowd in prayer. He was arrested after his return to Washington to oppose President Joe Biden’s inauguration.

Griffin’s case inched toward trial in U.S. District Court in Washington as federal prosecutors have introduced vast troves on evidence about the Capitol siege from security cameras, police lapel recordings and social media posts.

The charges against Griffin carry a maximum prison sentence of one year and implications for Griffin’s future in public office.

As a first-term commissioner in southern New Mexico’s Otero County, Griffin faces a petition drive to recall him from office with a special election and a probe by state prosecutors of allegations that Griffin used his public office in coordination with Cowboys for Trump for personal financial gain.

Griffin forged a group of rodeo acquaintances in 2019 into the promotional group called Cowboys for Trump that staged horseback parades to spread President Donald Trump’s conservative message about gun rights, immigration controls and abortion restrictions.

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