Guy Reffitt, 1st Capitol Rioter Tried in Federal Court, Convicted on All Counts

Guy Reffitt
Video still of Guy Reffitt at Jan. 6 Capitol riots shown at his federal trial. U.S. Justice Dept.

Guy Reffitt was the first Capitol rioter to be tried in federal court. His conviction on Tuesday could land him in prison for several years.

The first federal criminal trial of a Jan. 6 Capitol rioter ended Tuesday with convictions on all counts for a Texas man who brought weapons and ammunition to the deadly siege of Congress.

Guy Reffitt, 49, was found guilty of five felonies: obstructing an official proceeding, interfering with police in a riot, transporting a firearm for that purpose, witness tampering and armed trespassing. Jurors heard three days of testimony and deliberated nearly four hours before convicting him on all charges.

The guilty verdicts were seen as a boost to federal prosecutors, who have filed more than 700 cases against those who participated in the violent assault on Jan. 6, 2021. 

One of the witnesses against Reffitt was his teenage son, Jackson, who testified last week that his father threatened him after Jackson confronted his father over joining rioters.

“He said, ‘If you turn me in, you’re a traitor, and traitors get shot,’” Jackson Reffitt told the jury last week while his father watched in the courtroom.

Prosecutors portrayed Reffitt as a right-wing extremist intent on attacking the nation's Capitol.

"On January 6th, 2021, Guy Reffitt challenged the police at the head of a vigilante mob determined to break into the United States Capitol," said U.S. Attorney Risa Berkower in closing arguments Monday. "He did this because he wanted to take out Congress, and an angry, energized crowd gave him his best shot,” Berkower said.

Reffitt “lighted that crowd into an unstoppable force” that overpowered officers making a “last stand” at Senate doors, the prosecutor said. The vice president and Congress members were evacuated as rioters broke into the Capitol, breaking windows, attacking police and knocking down doors as they rampaged through halls, offices and the Senate and House chambers. 

Prosecutors also played video clips from Reffiitt's 360-degree camera mounted on his helmet at the Capitol. 

"We're taking the Capitol before the day is over," Reffitt was heard saying on the video. "Ripping them out by their hair — every f***ing one of them."

Referring to Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Reffit said, "Pelosi's coming out on her f***ing ears, dragging that b***h out hard core."

Jackson Reffitt, 19, testified he eventually reported his father to the FBI. 

Jackson said his dad belonged to the Texas Three Percenters, a state militia group linked to the gun-rights movement. His father frequently wore a .40-caliber pistol on his hip as he went about daily life, the son said on the witness stand. 

Defense attorney William Welch portrayed his client as prone to exaggeration and said Reffitt did not enter the Capitol, commit any violence or damage property.

“Guy Reffitt never put his hands on anyone. Never threw anything at anyone. Never hit anyone with anything,” Welch told jurors Monday.

“Guy Reffitt exaggerates,” Welch told the panel. “A lot.”

Reffitt faces a maximum sentence of 60 years. His sentencing was scheduled for June 8.

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