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Cowboys for Trump leader says he still won’t certify

Even as Otero County Commissioner Couy Griffin prepared to be sentenced for trespassing during the Jan. 6, 2021 riot at the U.S. Capitol, the outspoken Cowboys for Trump leader said he would not vote for certify the results of his county’s primary election despite the threat of legal action by New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas.

“I’m not intimidated by this,” Griffin said in a Thursday phone interview from Washington, DC, the day before he was sentenced to 14 days in prison by a federal judge for his role in the Jan. 6 uprising.

“He (Balderas) is not going to force me with threats like this,” he added.

“If they feel like they could force us to certify, then why even have a board of directors? Why isn’t the state doing everything? But the fact is – and what Hector knows – for make this election legal, you’ve got county commissioner certification,” Griffin said.

“So I’m not going to certify the vote until our demands have been met.”

Griffin’s challenge comes as Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver on Thursday delivered on her promise to ask Balderas to investigate the Otero County Commission for possible criminal and civil violations of New Mexico’s election code. .

Although expected, Toulouse Oliver’s request to investigate the three-member commission is the latest salvo in a high-profile dispute over certification of the primary election results, which the commissioners have refused to do. The commissioners, all Republicans from a pro-Trump county, spoke of their distrust of Dominion Voting Systems machines when they voted against certification of the results on Monday.

Their refusal prompted Toulouse Oliver to file a petition with the New Mexico Supreme Court, which gave the commission a Friday deadline to certify.

“The commission must comply with the law or we will take legal action,” Balderas said in a statement Thursday.

Griffin said Toulouse Oliver is trying to force the commission to “automatically approve” an election it doesn’t trust.

“It’s a shame, and it’s not right,” he said.

The commission, which has drawn national media attention for its refusal to certify the primary results, was due to hold an emergency meeting at 4 p.m. Friday. Only one point is on the agenda: “Request approval to certify the canvassing of the primary of 2022”.

Efforts to contact the other commissioners, Chair Vickie Marquardt and Gerald Matherly, were unsuccessful. They did not answer their cell phones and both voicemails were full.

Griffin was found guilty of one count of unlawfully trespassing on restricted grounds during the Jan. 6, 2021 riot that followed then-President Donald Trump’s “Stop the Steal” rally. after the presidential election, that Trump continues to claim he was rigged.

His Friday sentencing included credit for time served, which was over 14 days. Griffin was also ordered to pay a $3,000 fine, $500 in restitution and to perform 60 hours of community service.

The Albuquerque Journal contributed to this report.

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Post expires at 5:01pm on Wednesday June 29th, 2022