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The first US Capitol riot defendant convicted at trial has been sentenced to seven years in jail, having admitted he was a ‘f***ing idiot’.
On 6 January 2021, a mob of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol building in Washington an attempt to disrupt the certification of Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential election. Five people died as a result of the riot.
Rioter Guy Reffitt, a recruiter for the right wing movement Three Percenters, was sentenced to 87 months in prison yesterday, Monday 1 August – the longest sentence given to a rioter so far.
In March, he was found guilty of five felonies by a federal jury – including obstruction of Congress as it met for the 2020 election result, interfering with police and transporting a firearm, along with threatening his teenage son, who had eventually turned him in to the FBI.
Reffitt will also spend three years under court supervision after his sentence if he engages in further criminal activity, during which time he will be banned from having any association with extremist groups like Texas Three Percenters, Oath Keepers and Texas Freedom Force.
Having previously referred to himself as a martyr and patriot, standing by his actions in a letter to the judge, Reffitt expressed remorse for the first time in a statement issued before his sentencing.
He said: “I want to make multiple apologies. I was, to put it colorfully, a f***ing idiot.”
Assistant US Attorney Jeffrey Nestler argued to US District Judge Dabney Friedrich that Reffitt hadn’t just wanted then-President Donald Trump to ‘remain in office’, he had also wanted to ‘physically and literally remove members of Congress from power’.
“We believe he is a domestic terrorist,” Nestler added.
Reffitt’s teenage son Jackson told jurors that, during the trial, he and his 16-year-old sister had been threatened by their father.
He had allegedly told them: “If you turn me in, you’re a traitor and you know what happens to traitors... traitors get shot.”
Jackson expressed concern for his dad’s mental health in a letter read at the sentencing, explaining how he had ‘slowly lost himself over the years’ and ‘fallen into a horrible community to find a place in this life’.
Judge Friedrich denied the label of domestic terrorism, saying it would cause ‘unwarranted sentencing disparity’ as prosecutors had not sought it in other cases from the attack.
But she said what Reffitt and others did was the ‘antithesis of patriotism’, adding: “Not only are they not patriots, they are a direct threat to our democracy, and will be punished as such.”
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