Guy Reffitt, first January 6 defendant to stand trial, found guilty on all charges
Washington – A Texas man accused of allegedly bringing a semiautomatic pistol to the January 6 attack on the Capitol, interfering with police, and then telling his children that "traitors get shot" when they wanted to turn him into authorities, was found guilty Tuesday on all charges. The jury took less than four hours to deliberate in the first January 6 case to go to trial.
Guy Wesley Reffitt faces a maximum of 60 years in prison. His sentencing is set for June 8.
His son, Jackson Reffitt, testified against him and offered some of the strongest evidence in the trial.
Reffitt, wearing a dark blue jacket, white shirt, jeans, glasses and white face mask with his hair pulled back in a ponytail, was brought in five minutes before the verdict was read.
As the verdict was read out, Reffitt showed no emotion and looked down at his hands and the table. While the jurors individually affirmed the verdict, Reffitt looked at them, down at his hands, and looked briefly at a family member, who was continuing to cry. He watched the jurors as they left the room and pulled down his mask to take a sip of water.
As the verdict was read, a Reffitt family member who sat through most of the trial with his wife wiped her eyes repeatedly alone in a back bench. Reffitt's wife, Nicole, joined her in the back row of the court after the verdict, and held eye contact for a long spell with the defendant.
Moments later, both husband and wife removed their masks, put their hands over their hearts, and Reffitt appearing to mouth words of encouragement and love to them.
Reffitt gave little visible reaction as the verdict was read, lowering his mask to speak with his attorney once afterward and twice to drink from a refilled cup of water.
He shook his head briefly as the judge ruled the evidence was sufficient to prove his guilt, but stood respectfully with feet apart and hands clasped behind his back as the jury entered and exited, although none appeared to look in his direction.
Reffitt, a 49-year-old father of three from Wylie, Texas, was indicted by a grand jury on five counts last year for transporting a rifle and a semi-automatic handgun to Washington, D.C., and then carrying the handgun onto U.S. Capitol grounds, where he allegedly participated in the January 6, 2021 riot and impeded law enforcement officers.
He was also charged with obstruction of justice, illegally entering the Capitol complex, and obstructing Congress' counting of the 2020 Electoral College votes — a process that ultimately affirmed Joe Biden's victory over Donald Trump in the presidential election.
Steven M. D'Antuono, the assistant director in charge of the FBI's Washington field office, said in a statement Tuesday that the verdict "should serve as a reminder for others who committed crimes at the Capitol that day that these are serious charges and that the FBI and our law enforcement partners will do what it takes to hold them accountable."
Reffitt, a member of the far-right militia group the Texas Three Percenters, pleaded not guilty to all five charges and tried unsuccessfully to have some of the counts thrown out.
Reffitt's 19-year-old son, Jackson, who turned his father into law enforcement following the January 6 attack, told the jury that he had learned of his father's membership in the mob when he returned to the family's home on January 6 to see his mother and sister watching news coverage of the events, and his mother told him that his father was there.
According to the recordings played for the jury, Jackson captured his father admitting he had carried a gun outside the Capitol, an offense that is punishable by years in prison. "You carried a weapon onto Capitol grounds," Jackson is heard saying. "Okay," Guy responded, adding later, "I did it. I did bring a weapon on property that we own."
Emotions ran high in the courtroom when Jackson described the threat his dad had made against him and his sister, Peyton, when they told him they had to turn him in to authorities. "If you turn me in you're a traitor, and traitors get shot," Jackson recalled his father saying. He said he was "pretty sure" his father had uttered those exact words.
Jackson ultimately turned over the audio records and pictures of his father at the Capitol to the FBI.
A former Capitol Police officer and a former Texas Three Percenter also testified for the prosecution in the case.
William Welch, Guy Reffitt's attorney, called no witnesses, and Reffitt did not testify in his own defense. U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich cautioned the jury, "You must not assume the defendant is guilty because he chose not to testify."
In his closing statement, Welch rebutted all but one of the government's claims, saying, "Guy Reffitt did not go into the Capitol. He did not break anything. He was not armed. He did not threaten harm." Welch told the jury the government had only proven a misdemeanor charge that Reffitt was illegally on Capitol grounds, but "nothing more."
"Guy does brag a lot. He embellishes," Welch said of his client, telling the jury that Reffitt's descriptions of what he did on January 6 should not be viewed as fact, but hyperbole.
More than 750 people have been charged in the investigation, and over 200 have entered guilty pleas.
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