AlamogordoTownNews.com Couy Griffin Removal From Office Trial Begins
Otero County Commissioner Couy Griffin's trial started Monday in Santa Fe, with the judge telling the controversial Cowboys for Trump founder he planned to refer a man who helped Griffin prepare documents for the case for discipline for practicing law without a license.
Griffin — convicted of trespassing during the rioting in the nation's Capitol — is defending himself against a petition filed in March by three men from Northern New Mexico. The lawsuit against Griffin was filed in March by Marco White and Leslie Lakind, both Santa Fe County residents, along with Mark Mitchell of Los Alamos County.
The judge said “they had standing due to Griffin and the commissions actions in not certifying the recent election without a court order to do so” and that impacted the whole State and placed the state election in jeopardy thus anyone in the state had standing. The judge also noted the State statute does not specify that an individual must live in the district to file suit.
Commissioner Griffin is facing a civil bench trial on a petition requesting he be removed and disqualified from public office for participating in the 2021 breach of the U.S. Capitol.
Being forced to wear a mask and being corrected to pull the mask above his nose, at times, he appeared frustrated with the judge and while defending himself he raised the possibility of appealing the decision only hours into the proceedings.
Early he claimed he was “Ill prepared” thinking the case would be dismissed and that he could not afford an attorney, thus was defending himself.
When asked by District Judge Francis Mathew who had prepared a motion to quash the complaint, Griffin said under oath he and a friend had done so.
"A friend of mine in Roswell, N.M., whose name is Hiram," Griffin said in replying to Mathew's question. "As God as my witness, I do not know his last name."
Griffin argued in part the men who filed the petition — two from Santa Fe, one from Los Alamos — had no standing in the case because they were not from Otero County and it would be "unfair" and "un-American" to allow the case to go forward.
After Mathew denied the motion, Griffin walked away from the podium shaking his head — setting the tone for the morning session of the trial.
KALH Radio Anthony Lucero interviewed Commissioner Griffin about todays proceedings and he commented; that he “felt like he was in a boxing match” and that the plaintiff were “building a narrative around the participation in the acts in DC” with “sound bites” that made it appear he was part of a violent insurrection.
He said while defending himself without an attorney; “I believe I did well… with Gods grace it will work out for the people of Otero County…one man will make the decision…when it first started he (the judge) was very bent towards me and I did not feel like I had a chance but by the end of the day I felt like I garnished his respect.”
He continued to Mr. Lucero at KALH with; “we have another day of trial and at the end of the day my fate, not my fate but the fate of the voters of District 2…and if he replaces me, the Governor will hand select who will carry out the remainder of my term…so it’s just one political battle after another.”
The embattled commissioner — wearing a shiny black suit jacket but sans his trademark cowboy hat — repeatedly telegraphed his frustration with the process via verbal asides, tone of voice and body language.
"Thank God for the opportunity to appeal," he said. "I can only trust and have faith ... that the next court will be less judgmental towards me,“ he told reporters at days end.
The trial is scheduled to continue through Tuesday.
Griffins Interview with Anthony Lucero of KALH can be found via this link…