A jury on Tuesday found a Texas man guilty on all charges in the first criminal trial over the attack on the United States Capitol by supporters of former President Donald Trump.
Guy Reffitt, 49, was convicted of bringing a gun to Washington, interfering with the police and obstructing official proceedings — Congressional certification of Democrat Joe Biden’s victory in the November 2020 presidential election.
Reffitt, a member of a right-wing militia group called the Texas Three Percenters, was also found guilty of obstruction of justice for threatening his teenage son and daughter when they spoke to police about his involvement in the Capitol attack.
Reffitt’s then 18-year-old son turned to the FBI despite his father’s warning that “traitors are being shot” and gave emotional testimony to his father in court.
Reffitt, an oil worker from Wylie, Texas, was the first person to face charges of the January 6, 2021 attack on Congress†
The case, which was tried in a federal court in Washington, was closely watched for its potential impact on future prosecutions of other Capitol defendants.
The 12-member jury deliberated just hours before finding Reffitt guilty on all five charges against him.
“Guy Reffitt lit the fires of the first-ever group of rioters to break through the Capitol,” prosecutor Risa Berkower concluded. “The vigilante was set on fire by the defendant.”
Video of Reffitt confronting police on the steps of the Capitol and cheering on the pro-Trump crowd was played before the jury over four days of testimony.
Prosecutors also showed Reffitt’s text messages promising to “drag lawmakers” out of Congress.
“The election didn’t deliver the results he wanted, so he took matters into his own hands,” Berkower said.
Reffitt was wearing body armor and a helmet, wearing zippered handcuffs and armed with a .40-caliber handgun when he arrived at the Capitol, according to prosecutors.
More than 750 people have been arrested for their role in the January 6 attack.
Nearly 220 people have pleaded guilty to various charges, but Reffitt pleaded not guilty and was the first person to stand trial.
He could face up to 20 years in prison.
The storming of the Capitol killed at least five and injured 140 police officers and followed a fiery speech from Trump to thousands of his supporters near the White House.
Trump was impeached by the House for a historic second time after the Capitol riot — he was charged with inciting insurgency — but was acquitted by the Senate.