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Cowboys for Trump leader in solitary confinement after refusing coronavirus test

Couy Griffin in a black cowboy hat and a white shirt with 'C4T' above the breast pocket.
Couy Griffin has been charged by federal prosecutors with knowingly entering the U.S. Capitol grounds with the intent to disrupt government business.
(Nicole Maxwell / Alamogordo Daily via Tribune News Service)

The jailed leader of Cowboys for Trump has been held in solitary isolation for two weeks after 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 group of horseback- riding supporters of former President Trump, has been charged by federal prosecutors with knowingly entering the Capitol grounds with the intent to disrupt government business.

He was arrested Jan. 17 when he returned to Washington, vowing opposition to President 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 by phone or videoconference at a detention hearing in the coming days. Faruqui noted that Griffin has been yelling at officers and banging on the door of his jail cell.

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“This matter will not move forward to a detention hearing until the defendant appears,” the judge wrote.

The bombs were left at the Republican and Democratic national committee offices on Jan. 5, the FBI says. It’s unclear if they were related to the Capitol riot.

Griffin has said he wasn’t involved in violence at the U.S. Capitol and never went inside the building but waded among throngs of Trump supporters on an exterior 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 Biden would never be president.

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Faruqui said Griffin can leave solitary isolation if he cooperates. “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.


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