Capitol Rioter Who Threatened His Children Gets 7 Years

Judge gives Guy Reffitt the longest term yet, saying he hasn't disavowed his call to political violence
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 1, 2022 5:10 PM CDT
Capitol Rioter Who Threatened His Children Gets 7 Years
An artist sketch depicts Guy Reffitt, joined by his lawyer William Welch, right, in federal court in February.   (Dana Verkouteren via AP, File)

(Newser) – Calling Guy Reffitt's advocacy of political violence absurd and delusional, a federal judge on Monday imposed the longest sentence yet on a defendant convicted of attacking the US Capitol. US District Judge Dabney Friedrich gave the Texas man a prison sentence of 87 months, the Washington Post reports. Reffitt was convicted in March of obstruction of Congress as it assembled to certify the result of the 2020 election on Jan. 6, 2021, and four other felonies. He was the first person convicted at trial in the attack. While in prison, Reffitt has called himself a patriot and a martyr. "Patriots honor and respect the rule of law," the judge told him.

Prosecutors sought a 15-year sentence, pointing out that Reffitt led a mob while armed. The defense wanted a two-year term, which would have been below federal guidelines. Friedrich settled on the bottom end of the guidelines; the high end is 108 months. The judge, who was appointed to the court by former President Donald Trump, declined to add a terrorism enhancement, per Politico. Prosecutors wanted a punishment stiff enough to affect the 330 or so people awaiting trial who might be thinking about taking a plea deal. About 70 riot defendants so far have pleaded guilty, and eight other than Reffitt have been convicted at trial. He'll be under court supervision for three years after his release from prison.

In court Monday, Friedrich said Reffitt has yet to disavow his call to "forcibly remove legislatures and install a new government." The defendant changed his mind Monday afternoon about addressing the court in an effort to reassure the judge. "I did want to definitely make an apology, multiple apologies and accept my responsibility," Reffitt said. But his rambling statement, which included profanities, did not seem to sway Friedrich, who pointed out that his previous apology was much more qualified. One of Reffitt's children, who were threatened by their father and told not to inform on him, told the court that Trump, not her father, was the leader of the violence. "My father's name wasn’t on the flags that everyone was carrying there that day," daughter Peyton Reffitt said. "There was another man's name." (Reffitt's son reported him to the FBI weeks before the riot.)

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