Guy Reffitt was found guilty of all charges regarding his role in the Capitol riot, marking the first such case to go before a jury.
Context: On Jan. 6th, 2020 a pro-Trump rally held at the National Mall turned into a riot when protestors stormed the Capitol building as lawmakers worked the certify the 2020 election for Joe Biden.
Guy Reffitt, who traveled from Texas, was seen on video encouraging protestors to storm the Capitol, however, he never entered the building himself.
A lawyer for Mr. Reffitt described him as prone to hyperbole, stressed that he didn’t assault anyone or enter the Capitol building itself and disputed that Mr. Reffitt was armed that day. Prosecutors had shown the jury a photo of Mr. Reffitt at the Capitol that appeared to show a handgun in a holster on his hip. (per The Wall Street Journal)
What Happened: On Tuesday, a jury unanimously found Reffitt guilty on all charges.
Prosecution: The prosecution alleged Reffitt helped inspire other protestors to get violent and break into the Capitol building.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Risa Berkower said, “Guy Reffitt lit the fire of the very first group of rioters that breached the U.S. Capitol building.”
Charges: Reffitt was found guilty of five felony charges.
–Obstructing the official proceeding of certifying the 2020 presidential election
–Interfering with police
–Transporting guns into D.C.
– Carrying gun onto Capitol grounds
-An additional obstruction count for threatening his children
Why It Matters: This trial marked the first of more than 750 people who still face trials for their roles in the Capitol riot.
Reffitt’s trial was seen as an important test case as the U.S. Justice Department attempts to secure convictions from the hundreds of defendants who have not taken plea deals.
What Comes Next: Hundreds of people are still fighting charges against them regarding the Capitol riot. The verdict against Reffitt could echo through other cases as defendants weigh whether to take plea deals or continue to fight their charges.
Lawyers for some of the defendants have argued the law was meant to apply more specifically to destroying documents or records in connection with a proceeding. On Monday, U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols agreed, saying the government hadn’t alleged that Mr. Miller had done so.
“Nothing in Count Three (or the Indictment more generally) alleges, let alone implies, that Miller took some action with respect to a document, record, or other object in order to corruptly obstruct, impede or influence Congress’s certification of the electoral vote,” the judge wrote, setting up a disagreement that could go to the Washington federal appeals court or the Supreme Court. (per The Wall Street Journal)