New Mexico official, who founded ‘Cowboys for Trump,’ arrested in connection with Capitol riot

Capitol Riots

WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — The U.S. Justice Department said on Sunday that it had arrested an elected official from New Mexico who had vowed to travel to Washington with firearms to protest President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.

Cuoy Griffin, a New Mexico county commissioner and founder of a group called “Cowboys for Trump,” was arrested in Washington on charges related to the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, according to documents posted on the Justice Department’s website.

Griffin was among thousands who stormed the Capitol in an attempt to block Congress from certifying Democrat Biden’s victory over Republican President Donald Trump, according to charging documents. He stood on the steps of the building but did not enter it.

After the riot, Griffin said he planned to return ahead of Biden’s inauguration this Wednesday. “If we do, then it’s gonna be a sad day, because there’s gonna be blood running out of that building,” he said in a video posted to Facebook, according to an FBI document.

Back in New Mexico, Griffin told a Thursday meeting of the Otero County Council that he planned to drive to Washington with a rifle and a revolver. He faces trespassing charges.

Federal authorities have brought criminal charges against more than 100 people so far in connection with the Jan. 6 riot, in which Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol, ransacked offices and attacked police. Investigators are scouring more than 140,000 videos and photos from the siege in which five people died, including a police officer.

U.S. officials arrested 10 more people on Saturday and Sunday. Among them was Chad Barrett Jones of Kentucky, who authorities said was captured on video using a wooden flagpole to try to break glass door panels in the House of Representatives. He faces several charges, including assaulting a federal officer.

Two cousins, Daniel Adams of Texas and Cody Connell of Louisiana, likewise face charges of assaulting a federal officer for allegedly pushing their way past Capitol Police into the building. Connell posted videos of their activity on social media and told others he planned to return to Washington with firearms and body armor, according to FBI documents.

Law enforcement officials have been bracing for further violence. More than a dozen states activated National Guard troops following an FBI warning of armed demonstrations by right-wing extremists. But by late Sunday afternoon, only handfuls of demonstrators had taken to the streets.

More arrests after Capitol Riot

West Virginia native and a senior at the University of Kentucky Gracyn Courtright is charged with knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without law authority, knowingly engaging in disorderly or disruptive conduct in any restricted building or grounds, violent entry and disorderly conduct on capitol grounds, and theft of government property.

In a 19-page federal criminal complaint, the FBI gives several pieces of evidence, most of which is Courtright’s social media posts.

The complaint also includes screenshots from videos posted to a now-deleted Twitter account, along with a photo from a surveillance camera inside the capitol which it says shows Courtright carrying a sign that says ‘members only.’ (United States District Court)

Officials included screenshots from Courtright’s now-de-activated Instagram account show pictures outside the capitol with the caption, “can’t wait to tell my grandkids I was here.”

In Instagram messages, Courtright says she didn’t see any violence, saying, “it’s history,” and “I thought it was cool.”

The complaint also includes screenshots from videos posted to a now-deleted Twitter account, along with a photo from a surveillance camera inside the capitol which it says shows Courtright carrying a sign that says ‘members only.’

According to the complaint, Courtright’s father acknowledged her involvement. It says he told the FBI Courtright went to Washington D.C. to be at, “the party.”

A UK spokesperson told NewsNation affiliate WKYT they don’t discuss disciplinary issues, but say the school’s code of conduct applies both on and off-campus and would apply if a student violates local state or federal laws.

Officials searching for suspects after Capitol riots

Federal authorities are looking for a woman whose former romantic partner says she took a laptop from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office during the riot at the U.S. Capitol earlier this month.

The FBI said in an arrest warrant Sunday, however, that Riley June Williams hasn’t been charged with theft but only with illegally entering the Capitol and with disorderly conduct.

FBI officials said a caller claiming to be an ex of Williams said friends of hers showed him a video of her taking a laptop computer or hard drive from Pelosi’s office. The caller alleged that she intended to send the device to a friend in Russia who planned to sell it to that country’s foreign intelligence service, but that plan fell through and she either has the device or destroyed it. The FBI says the matter remains under investigation.

Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff, Drew Hammill, confirmed Jan. 8 that a laptop was taken from a conference room but said “it was a laptop that was only used for presentations.”

Williams’ mother, who lives with her in Harrisburg, told ITV reporters that her daughter had taken a sudden interest in President Donald Trump’s politics and “far-right message boards.” Her father, who lives in Camp Hill, told local law enforcement that he and his daughter went to Washington on the day of the protest but didn’t stay together, meeting up later to return to Harrisburg, the FBI said.

FBI officials said they believe Williams “has fled.” Her mother told local law enforcement that she packed a bag and left, saying she would be gone for a couple of weeks. She also changed her phone number and deleted a number of social media accounts, the FBI said. Court documents don’t list an attorney for her.

Capitol Police are still looking for a man they say used a police shield to pin an officer in a door jam. They’re also searching for the men they say tased a Washington D.C. police officer, causing him to suffer a minor heart attack.

Reporting by Andy Sullivan/Reuters. The Associated Press, Reuters and NewsNation affiliate WKYT contributed to this report.

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