Courtroom sketch of Guy Wesley Reffitt, joined by his lawyer William Welch, right, in federal court, in Washington, Monday, Feb. 28, 2022Dana Verkouteren/San Francisco Chronicle via AP
Fight disinformation. Get a daily recap of the facts that matter. Sign up for the free Mother Jones newsletter.The first criminal trial of a January 6 insurrectionist has reached its dramatic conclusion: Guilty on all counts.
Guy Reffitt, a Three Percenter militia member who wore a helmet and body armor as he confronted police defending the Capitol, was found guilty of obstructing the certification of President Joe Biden’s 2020 victory. The 41-year-old Texan was also found guilty of illegally carrying a gun in the mob that day and threatening his children in a (thwarted) attempt to keep authorities in the dark.
The New York Times explains the significance of the conviction for the ongoing efforts to prosecute the Capitol assailants:
The trial, in Federal District Court in Washington, was a victory for the Justice Department, which has only just begun the marathon process of bringing to trial scores of rioters accused of storming the Capitol or assaulting the police outside it on Jan. 6, 2021.
The jury’s decision validated the prosecutors’ move to use an unusual obstruction count to charge hundreds of defendants in riot-related cases and could provide an incentive to some who are awaiting trial to consider pleading guilty.
In an extensive investigation published last September, Mother Jones highlighted Reffitt’s role in the attack, including carrying a pistol—despite Trump supporters’ frequent claims the insurrectionist weren’t armed.
According to FBI wiretap evidence contained in court documents, Reffitt boasted to family and fellow militia members after returning to Texas in January that he and other insurrectionists brought guns to the siege. “The people that were around me were all carrying too,” he said. “I had every constitutional right to carry a weapon and take over the Congress, as we tried to do. We went in, they scurried like rats and hid. That’s how it works.”
Watch that full investigation below: