By Vivian Roach | Staff Writer
A federal magistrate denied a Waco-area man his request to be released on bail in Austin on Wednesday after the judge ruled he played an active role in the Capitol riot.
Christopher Grider, co-owner of Kissing Tree Vineyards in Eddy, was charged with criminal conduct for his involvement in the Capitol storming on Jan. 6. According to the U.S. Department of Justice webpage, Grider was arrested in Austin on Jan. 21 and was held in temporary detention until his hearing before the U.S. Magistrate Judge Susan Hightower in the Western District of Texas Wednesday.
Hightower said in the order of detention there was no supporting evidence that Grider’s release could assure the safety of the community based on all information provided.
Grider admitted to his involvement in the storming on a video conference interview with KWTX-TV News 10 on Jan. 6. He said he wanted to show his support for then-President Donald Trump by attending a rally in Washington D.C. However, it quickly escalated, Grider said in the interview. He said he saw a woman, later identified as 35-year-old Ashli Babbitt, get shot and killed after protesters broke the glass door to the Speaker of the House’s chamber, trying to force their way through.
FBI agents later confirmed he was present in the Capitol during the Jan. 6 storming by identifying him in “open sources” from inside and outside the building. He was seen wearing a black puffy jacket (similar to one he was wearing in the interview) with a yellow “Don’t Tread on Me” flag tied around his neck. At other points in the footage, he was seen wearing a blue surgical mask and a red “Make America Great Again” cap.
Additionally, agents identified Grider holding a black helmet in the air, then minutes later seen handing the black helmet to another individual who used it to break the glass doors to the Speaker’s chamber, where Babbitt attempted to jump through before being shot. Grider is also seen pushing and kicking the doors to the Chamber.
Hightower said in further explanation for her decision to detain Grider, he posed a serious danger to the community if released because of the reasonable evidence he supplied the helmet that broke the Chamber glass.
“As counsel for Mr. Grider argued during the detention hearing: ‘What happened there was a tragedy.’ Had Mr. Grider succeeded in his alleged attempts to breach the entrance leading to the House Chamber, the tragedy could have been far greater,” Hightower said.
A 12-page affidavit in support of a criminal complaint and arrest warrant was filed against Chris Grider on Jan. 20. Grider is charged for three criminal offenses of intentionally attacking the Capitol, unlawfully entering the government property restricted building and for disorderly conduct.
Criminal defense lawyer, Brent Mayr, of Mayr Law P.C., filed a motion following the hearing for reconsideration and to reopen Grider’s hearing. Mayr said in the motion his client was not a “leading participant,” as the Court found him to be in the footage provided from the Capitol.
Mayr presented another Youtube video from the Capitol, from where he referred to several timestamps that he said Grider’s behaviors were unclear and exaggerated by the Court.
“This newly-discovered video provides a much more complete picture, and more importantly, shows that the person believed to be Mr. Grider is not, like this Court found, ‘a leading participant,’” Mayr said in the motion.