The heaviest punishment handed down thus far among the hundreds of cases involving the Capitol riot involves a Texas man who was found guilty of assaulting the U.S. Capitol with a holstered weapon, a helmet, and body armor. He was sentenced to more than seven years in jail on Monday.
According to a court document, according to allegations made by the prosecution, Guy Reffitt discussed his intention to drag House Speaker Nancy Pelosi out of the Capitol building by her ankles “with her head hitting every step on the way down” with other militia members of the Texas Three Percenters militia group.
Reffitt’s prison term of seven years and three months is two years longer than the previous record-holder for the longest prison term for a defendant in the Capitol incident. However, it is less than half the length of the 15-year sentence sought by a federal prosecutor who referred to Reffitt as a domestic terrorist and claimed he planned to physically replace members of Congress.
Reffitt was the first person to face trial for the attack on the joint session of Congress on January 6, 2021, during which supporters of then-President Donald Trump shut it down in order to confirm Joe Biden’s win in the 2020 election.
Reffitt was also given three years of supervised release following his jail term and was mandated to pay $2,000 in restitution by U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich, who presided over the jury trial.
The judge’s computed sentencing guidelines asked for a sentence of seven years, three months to nine years in jail.
Friedrich disagreed with the prosecution’s claim that Reffitt’s case called for a “upward departure for terrorism,” which would have resulted in a far lengthier sentence. Prosecutors have never before asked for such sentence increase in a case from January 6 before.
The court was informed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Nestler that “he wanted to physically and practically remove Congress.” He is a domestic terrorist, we do think.
Friedrich, however, questioned the justification for Reffitt receiving the terrorist increase given the large number of protestors who also engaged in violence and made alarming threats.
Before Reffitt, two individuals who admitted to attacking police officers at the Capitol received sentences of five years and three months.
Reffitt, who has already served almost 19 months in prison, initially resisted responding to the judge during the hearing on Monday. But on January 6, when in the Capitol, he changed his mind and apologized profusely to law enforcement officials, representatives, and legislative employees. Reffitt, who referred to himself as “an idiot,” stumbled when asked why he assaulted the Capitol.
It was all a haze to him. “It was simply incredibly disorganized and perplexing.”
Reffitt has been making public speeches from jail in which he presents himself and other rioters as patriots who were rightfully indigning against an oppressive U.S. government, prompting Friedrich to question the sincerity of his apologies and sentiments of regret.
In addition to not being patriotic, the court declared that they posed a serious threat to our democracy and would be dealt with accordingly.
Reffitt said that his venomous words from behind bars was exaggeration used to collect money for his family.
If I don’t say something that will help them get money, I’m on the street, he declared.
Clinton Broden, Reffitt’s defense counsel, argued for a sentence of no more than two years in jail. Broden pointed out that Reffitt didn’t break into the Capitol or fight any police officers.
Videos show the altercation between Reffitt and a crowd of individuals who approached outnumbered Capitol police officers on the west side of the building.
Prosecutors claim that when Reffitt charged at the cops, he was outfitted with a Smith & Wesson revolver in a holster on his waist, zip-tie handcuffs, body armor, and a helmet with a video camera. He backed off after being pepper sprayed in the face by an officer, but other rioters waved him on and eventually broke into the building, according to the prosecution.
Prior to being found guilty on all five charges of his indictment by a jury in March, Reffitt declined to give a testimony during his trial. He was found guilty by the jury of interfering with police outside the Capitol, obstructing the joint session of Congress, and threatening his two teenage children if they called the police.
Jackson Reffitt, Reffitt’s 19-year-old son, stated that his father informed his sister, 16, and him that they would be considered traitors if they reported him to the police and that “traitors are shot.”
Prosecutors claim that Guy Reffitt belonged to the Texas Three Percenters paramilitary organization. The Three Percenters movement addresses the fallacy that just 3% of Americans participated in the fight against the British.
Reffitt resided in Wylie, Texas, a suburb of Dallas, with his wife and kids. Along with Rocky Hardie, another member of the militia organization, he took a car to Washington, D.C.
Hardie said in court that both of them had weapons holstered when they went to Trump’s “Stop the Steal” event prior to the melee. In addition, Hardie claimed Reffitt provided him two sets of zip-tie handcuffs in case someone needed to be detained.
Federal offences connected to the unrest have been filed against more than 840 individuals. Of them, over 340 have entered pleas of guilty, primarily to misdemeanors. Nearly half of those who received sentences—more than 220—were for jail terms. Trial dates for over 150 others go all the way until 2023.
Reffitt is one of seven defendants in the Capitol incident who have so far received a jury trial. On every charge in each of their individual indictments, the jury found all seven of them guilty in unanimity.