WASHINGTON – A New Mexico man was found guilty today of a misdemeanor charge for his actions during the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. That breach disrupted a joint session of the U.S. Congress that was in the process of ascertaining and counting the electoral votes related to the presidential election.
Couy Griffin, 48, of Tularosa, New Mexico, was found guilty of entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds. He was found not guilty of a second misdemeanor charge of disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds. The verdicts were returned by Judge Trevor N. McFadden following a trial in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. This was the first trial in a misdemeanor case related to the events of Jan. 6, 2021.
According to the government’s evidence, Griffin was among thousands who illegally entered the U.S. Capitol grounds on Jan. 6. He reached the Capitol grounds at approximately 2:30 p.m. He climbed over a stone wall and entered the lawn on the West Front of the Capitol, within the restricted area. He turned to another individual, an associate, and stated, “This is our house …we should all be armed.” Griffin climbed over a metal barricade surrounding the West Front and entered the area below the inauguration platform. He then climbed the hidden stairway to the inauguration stage, which was under construction on the Lower West Terrace. Then he boosted himself up onto the front railing of the inaugural stage, turned to an associate’s camera and said, “Can we do it live?” Griffin asked, “Are we live?” and addressed his video audience saying, “It’s a great day for America. The people are showing that they have had enough. People are ready for fair and legal elections, or this is what you’re gonna get and you’re gonna get more of it.” Griffin spent over an hour perched on the front railing of the inaugural stage, being filmed by his associate.
Griffin was arrested on Jan. 19, 2021, in Washington, D.C. He is to be sentenced on June 17, 2022. The charge carries a statutory maximum of a year in jail and potential financial penalties. The judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the Department of Justice National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section. Valuable assistance was provided by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Mexico.
The case is being investigated by the FBI’s Washington and Albuquerque Field Offices. Valuable assistance was provided by the Metropolitan Police Department, the U.S. Capitol Police, and the U.S. Secret Service.
In the 14 months since Jan. 6, more than 775 individuals have been arrested in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol, including over 245 individuals charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement. The investigation remains ongoing.
Anyone with tips can call 1-800-CALL-FBI (800-225-5324) or visit tips.fbi.gov.