By Nicole Maxwell Alamogordo Daily News
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Cowboys for Trump founder in isolation


Last updated 2/2/2021 at 12:28pm


Cowboys for Trump founder Couy Griffin remains at a federal prison in Washington, D.C., following his Jan. 17 arrest on charges of knowingly entering a restricted building related to the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol Building.

According to court documents, Griffin was in 14-day isolation due to his refusal to take a COVID-19 test.

Griffin has also reportedly refused to speak with the judge in his case, Judge Zia M. Faruqui.

Faruqui stated in an order filed last week that Griffin "shall appear via phone or video" for his initial appearance. "Neither he nor his counsel may waive this right. This matter will not move forward to a detention hearing until the defendant appears. Failure to comply with such order may result in a finding of contempt."

Griffin was in an initial appearance hearing by phone on Jan. 21.

"Jail staff provided the defendant with a headset to participate in this hearing remotely," Faruqui said in the order. "The defendant refused to participate in the hearing and stated on the record that he did not wish to speak with the judge."

David B. Smith, although not formally appointed to Griffin's case requested Griffin's appearance at the hearing be waived.

"However, the Court refused to hold the hearing without the defendant," Faruqui said in the order.

The hearing was continued to Monday afternoon with a call being planned between Smith and Griffin in the interim "as Mr. Smith had not yet spoken with the defendant," Faruqui said in the order.

Records show Griffin has refused to speak to Smith, yelled at officers and banged on his cell door.

Last week, Smith filed a motion for Griffin's release, which stated "the defendant was suffering from difficult conditions in isolation," Faruqui said in the order.

A defendant's right to remain silent and right to legal counsel are stated in the initial appearance therefore "the initial appearance is a critical stage of the criminal proceedings," Faruqui said in the order.

Waiving a defendant's appearance can be done even in trial, but such a waiver does not exist in the case of initial appearances, Faruqui said in the order.

"It bears repeating that the defendant 'holds the keys to his (imprisonment in isolation) analogous to the civil contempt prisoner,'" Faruqui said in the order. "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."


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