Cowboys for Trump cofounder Couy Griffin on Tuesday appealed a decision made by a judge in New Mexico that banned him from seeking or holding state or federal office and removed the official from his position.
Griffin, who was removed from his position as an Otero County commissioner, notified the state Supreme Court on Tuesday of his intent to appeal the ruling by state District Judge Francis Mathew in early September.
Griffin, 48, was convicted for being on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol when it was breached on Jan. 6, 2021.
In his ruling earlier this month, Mathew found that Griffin took an oath to support the U.S. Constitution when assuming the position and concluded that the Capitol breach was “an insurrection by a mob whose goal … was to set aside the results of a free, fair and lawful election by a majority of the people of the entire country,” and that Griffin “is disqualified from federal and state office for having engaged in that insurrection.”
The ruling marked the first time an elected official has been removed or barred from office in connection with the U.S. Capitol breach and came after three New Mexico residents, represented by the Washington-based nonprofit Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), asked the court to bar Griffin from doing so.
They cited Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which states that anyone who has taken an oath to uphold the Constitution can be barred from office for “engaging in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.”
The judge wrote that “Mr. Griffin aided the insurrection even though he did not personally engage in violence. By joining the mob and trespassing on restricted Capitol grounds, Mr. Griffin contributed to delaying Congress’s election-certification proceedings.”
Ban ‘Disenfranchises Political Constituents’
Griffin maintained his innocence throughout the trial and sentencing and stated that he was not aware that the Capitol grounds he entered were restricted.
Griffin, a former rodeo rider and pastor who helped found Cowboys for Trump in 2019, was previously charged with disorderly conduct and entering a restricted area for his actions on Jan. 6.
U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden, a Trump appointee, acquitted him of the first charge in June and convicted him on the second charge. He was sentenced to 14 days in jail and given credit for 20 days he already served and fined $3,000. He was also ordered to serve 60 days of community service.
Griffin, who has asserted that there was fraud in the election, has cited free speech guarantees in his defense and says his barring from public office disenfranchises his political constituents in Otero County.
His supporters have called for disciplinary complaints to be filed against the judge who barred him from office.
Following his removal from office earlier this month, CREW called the judge’s decision a “historic win for accountability for the January 6th insurrection and the efforts to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power in the United States.”
“Protecting American democracy means ensuring those who violate their oaths to the Constitution are held responsible,” said CREW President Noah Bookbinder in a statement. “This decision makes clear that any current or former public officials who took an oath to defend the U.S. Constitution and then participated in the January 6th insurrection can and will be removed and barred from government service for their actions.”
Couy Griffin could not be reached for comment.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.