SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The jailed leader of Cowboys for Trump has been held in solitary isolation for two weeks as he refused to take a coronavirus test and rejected initial offers to speak with an attorney or judge following his arrest in connection with the Jan. 6 siege on the U.S. Capitol, a federal judge said Friday in a court order.
Couy Griffin, a county commissioner from southern New Mexico and founder of a horseback-riding group of Donald Trump promoters, has been charged by federal prosecutors with knowingly entering the Capitol grounds with the intent to disrupt government business.
He was arrested later on Jan. 17 as he returned to Washington, vowing opposition to President Joe Biden’s election victory and inauguration.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Zia Faruqui on Friday threatened Griffin with contempt of court if he fails to appear in coming days at a detention hearing by phone or video conference. He notes that Griffin has been yelling at officers and banging on his jail cell door.
“This matter will not move forward to a detention hearing until the defendant appears,” the judge wrote.
Griffin has said he wasn’t involved in violence at the U.S. Capitol and never went inside the building as he waded among throngs of Trump supporters on an outer balcony.
Federal prosecutors want Griffin held without bail as a flight risk and danger to others, citing a history of threatening comments, racial invective, access to firearms and vows that Joe Biden would never be president.
Faruqui says Griffin’s own actions led to his solitary confinement.
“Simply taking a COVID-19 test, something hundreds of millions of people have safely done across the world, will allow the defendant to exit isolation,” the judge wrote.