January 6 defendant found guilty of trespass at US Capitol
© Wikimedia (Tyler Merbler)
January 6 defendant found guilty of trespass at US Capitol

A federal judge Tuesday found Cowboys for Trump founder Couy Griffin guilty of trespassing on US Capitol grounds during last year’s January 6 Capitol violence. The second defendant to go on trial on charges stemming from the riot, Griffin was convicted on a charge of entering a restricted area and acquitted of disorderly and disruptive conduct.

Judge Trevor McFadden of the US District Court for the District of Columbia issued his verdict Tuesday afternoon following a bench trial that began Monday. Griffin faces a fine, probation, or a sentence of up to one year in prison. Sentencing is set for June 17.

Federal prosecutors have charged nearly 800 defendants with involvement in the riot. More than 200 have accepted guilty pleas, with the remaining still awaiting trial. With extensive video evidence available, cases such as Griffin’s hinge on legal definitions such as what constitutes a restricted area and the meaning of “disorderly” conduct. While Griffin did not enter the Capitol building, video shows him climbing over a wall, which the government argued would have signaled to a reasonable person that the area was restricted. The case presented challenges for prosecutors who were forced to reveal the location of former vice president Mike Pence during the January 6 events.