1st Capitol rioter to face trial will get 7 years, the longest sentence for a Jan. 6 defendant to this point

1st Capitol rioter to face trial will get 7 years, the longest sentence for a Jan. 6 defendant to this point

A federal choose on Monday sentenced the primary Capitol rioter sentenced on trial to 87 months, or simply over seven years, in jail, the longest jail time period but for a defendant within the Justice Division’s felony investigation into the assault on the Congress on January 6. .

Man Wesley Refitt, 49, of Wylie, Texas, was convicted by a federal jury in March of 5 felony counts, together with obstruction of justice, in addition to getting into and remaining in a restricted constructing or grounds with a firearm.

Federal prosecutors from the US Division of Justice had known as for Reffitt to be sentenced to fifteen years in jail. Prosecutors had additionally requested, for the primary time, a federal district courtroom choose to use a terrorism enhancement, which might successfully outline underneath the regulation {that a} troublemaker’s actions amounted to home terrorism.

“We consider what he was doing that day was home terrorism and we consider he’s a home terrorism,” Assistant US Legal professional Jeffrey Nestler stated Monday.

However the choose overseeing Reffitt’s case, Dabney Friedrich, denied the request, saying there have been many different defendants within the Jan. 6 assault in whom the Justice Division determined to not proceed with the enhancement of terrorism, regardless of that his habits appeared to be way more severe and threatening. of which Reffitt was convicted at trial.

Reffitt’s lawyer, Clinton Broden, argued that the DOJ was unfairly searching for to make an instance of Reffitt just because he took his case to trial.

“That is the one case the place the federal government has known as for escalation of terrorism, and that is the one case the place the defendant has gone to trial,” Broden stated. “I do not suppose you might want to be a rocket scientist to determine that out.”

Reffitt is amongst greater than 850 folks charged in reference to the lethal breach of the Capitol constructing on Jan. 6, 2021, which disrupted a joint session of Congress known as to find out and depend electoral votes associated to the 2020 presidential election. . Greater than 200 defendants have already pleaded responsible to a wide range of misdemeanors and felonies, with some sentenced to years in federal jail.

Reffitt’s lawyer, Clinton Broden, requested that his shopper be sentenced to not more than two years. He stated he was stunned by the prosecution’s advice, since his shopper was not charged with getting into the Capitol or assaulting any law enforcement officials that day.

“It is completely absurd,” Broden instructed The Related Press throughout a cellphone interview final month. “I definitely do not approve of what Mr. Reffitt did. And I believe everybody realizes the seriousness of the offenses. However on the similar time, there must be some proportionality right here.”

Federal sentencing tips in Reffitt’s case known as for a jail sentence starting from 9 years to 11 years and three months.

Throughout the trial, prosecutors tried to painting Reffitt, a member of the Three Percenters militia group in Texas, because the ringleader of one of many first waves of the mob that stormed the Capitol from the west facet of the constructing.

Movies performed in courtroom confirmed Reffitt climbing a stone railing close to the place scaffolding had been positioned earlier than President Joe Biden’s inauguration, and Reffitt confronting US Capitol law enforcement officials who they warned him to again off earlier than they fired less-lethal ammunition and pepper spray. to cease his progress. Different movies filed in courtroom confirmed Reffitt gesturing to the gang behind him in what seemed to be an try to get them to climb the steps to the a number of entrances that result in the constructing.

At one level within the trial, prosecutors performed first-person footage that Reffitt had recorded with a 360-degree digital camera mounted on his helmet whereas he was within the crowd on the “Save America” ​​rally earlier than the assault.

“We’ll take the Capitol earlier than the day is out,” Reffitt says within the video. “Everyone seems to be in the identical concord on that… dragging them round kicking and screaming.”

“I did not come right here to play…I simply need to see Pelosi’s head hit each fucking step on the best way out,” he says later. “I believe we have now the numbers to make it occur … with out firing a single shot.”

The Justice Division’s case additionally relied on two key witnesses: Rocky Hardie, a former member of the Texas Three Percenters, who testified in opposition to Reffitt in trade for immunity for cooperating, and Reffitt’s 19-year-old son Jackson, who despatched a on-line observe. to the FBI first alerting them to her father’s plans weeks earlier than the riot, in the end resulting in Reffitt’s arrest on January 16, 2021.

Throughout an interview with ABC Information from jail final December, Reffitt stated he “by no means anticipated something like this to occur.”

“This has been disastrous for me and my household, particularly my daughters, my son, really my total household,” Reffitt instructed ABC Information.

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