Decide rejects terrorism conviction in January 6 case

Reffitt, a member of the Texas Three Percenters militia, became the first defendant on January 6 to appear before a jury and was convicted of all five counts he faces. Evidence and testimony at trial showed that he drove to Washington with an acquaintance the day before the riots, carrying two AR-15 rifles and a pistol with him. The jury found that he had a pistol strapped to his waist while engaged in a tense confrontation with police on the Western Front of the Capitol. Reffitt was armed with less damaging weapons and tear gas as he tried to make his way up the steps, waving the crowd forward, but he never entered the building himself.

As the sentencing hearing stretched into the fourth hour on Monday, Friedrich had yet to announce a verdict in the case. In theory, Reffitt could receive up to 60 years in prison, but defendants are often sentenced under federal guidelines on terms that are less than the maximum.

Assistant US Attorney Jeffrey Nestler said Reffitt’s discussions before and after January 6 made it clear that he intended to carry out his repeated threats to entice the speaker. Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell from the Capitol building by force. During video-recorded discussions, Reffitt was recorded mentioning that he wanted to listen to the legislator’s heads bouncing down the steps of the Capitol.

“He was planning to outrun our government. Nestler said. “He wasn’t done. January 6 is just a preface. … Mr. Reffitt is alone in a classroom. “

However, Friedrich said prosecutors have been urging much shorter sentences in cases involving people directly involved in actual violence against police.

“You’re making proposals differently than you’re making in this case – in a different way,” said the judge, an appointee of President Donald Trump.

Friedrich also said she was worried that Reffitt would not be unduly punished for deciding to go to court, rather than enter a negotiation with prosecutors.

“His decision to exercise his constitutional right to adjudication should not have resulted in a significantly different sentence,” she said.

Nestler also noted that Reffitt was found guilty of wearing a handgun at his waist while on Capitol grounds, which Friedrich acknowledged was a key differentiator from other cases in reaching the sentence. hitherto.

“Very big, huge… and does the gun deserve a triple sentence if it is not swung or used in any way?” asked the judge.

Another unusual aspect of Reffitt’s case is that he was found guilty of threatening to injure his two children if they discussed his actions on January 6 with authorities. One of those children, Peyton Reffitt, spoke briefly during Monday’s hearing to call for clemency for her father. She argues that Trump is more responsible for the events of that day than her father.

Peyton said: “My father’s name was not on all the flags that people carried that day. “He’s not a leader.”

Several times during Monday’s hearing, Friedrich suggested she thought Reffitt suffered from delusions of grandeur and that his decision to go to court earlier this year was part of his effort to stay as a leader. of those who oppose the certification of the election.

“He wanted to be a big man – the first to try to storm the Capitol, the first to go to court,” the judge said. “Obviously, that’s what he wanted.”

Reffitt attorney Clinton Broden admitted that at one point his client was at the forefront of the crowd on the Western Front of the Capitol. But the defense argued that the angry mob was determined to swarm toward the building whether or not Reffitt waved to them.

“Those people are going to take the stairs regardless of Mr. Reffitt and I think we all know that,” Broden said.

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