Guy Reffitt, First Jan. 6 Rioter to Go to Trial, Convicted of All Counts

Guy Reffitt, the 49-year-old Texas man who became the first January 6 Capitol rioter to go to trial over his involvement in the riot, was found guilty on all counts by a jury in a Washington, D.C., court Tuesday.

Reffitt was charged with obstruction of an official proceeding for taking part in the riot that disrupted the certification of the results of the 2020 election. He was also charged with being unlawfully present on Capitol grounds while possessing a firearm, transporting firearms during civil disorder since he approached the Capitol armed with a holstered handgun, as well as interfering with law enforcement officers during the riot and obstruction of justice, the Associated Press reported.

Reffitt was described by the prosecution as a leading force among the rioters at the Capitol, leading many rioters up the steps to the Capitol in the direction of Capitol police who were outside the doors and encouraging others to continue after he was pepper sprayed, Newsweek previously reported.

The obstruction of justice charge was brought against Reffitt over accusations that he threatened his two children if they reported his involvement in the riot to law enforcement, the AP added. Prosecutors said that when Reffitt returned to his Texas home following the riot, he told his two children, 18 and 16 at the time, that if they reported him to law enforcement they would be "traitors" to him and that "traitors get shot."

Reffitt's wife, Nicole, was reportedly heard outside the court following the reading of the verdict saying it went "against all American people. You're going to be convicted on your First Amendment rights. All Americans should be wary. This fight has just begun," the AP reported.

"You are all in danger," she reportedly said, claiming the government was making an example of her husband.

Jackson Reffitt, his now-19-year-old son, testified against his father to confirm those threats and the fact that he was the one who informed the FBI of his father's involvement in the riot. In a January appearance on CNN, he also said he is sorry that he had to turn his father in because of his actions but said the threats were too much, adding that he believes he did the right thing and said he would turn his father in again.

Jackson Reffitt also testified that he contacted the FBI around Christmas 2020 regarding the increasingly extreme political rhetoric his father would discuss around their home, including his involvement with the Three Percenters conspiracy theory-related militia movement.

Peyton Reffitt, the daughter who was the other child threatened not to go to police, said after the trial that while she was listed as a government witness but did not testify, she will speak about her father's actions on her own time, adding that "kids should not be used against the parents," the AP reported.

The Southern Poverty Law Center defines the Three Percenters as part of an anti-government ideology that compares the current American government to the British government that American colonists fought against, with the unproven belief that only 3 percent of colonists fought in the Revolutionary War. The belief holds that therefore a small militia force could overthrow the current government.

Reffitt was not accused of or charged with entering the Capitol, which he was recorded after the riot stating that he did not do but said he felt that he "started the fire" that led to other rioters breaking into the building.

The jury deliberated for about three hours before returning the guilty verdict, the AP reported. Reffitt did not testify in the trial, the verdict and eventual sentencing of which many legal experts and prosecutors have said could be an indicator of how future January 6 cases are handled.

Over 750 people have been arrested in connection with the Capitol riots, with hundreds pleading guilty and receiving prison sentences ranging from several months to several years. The AP reported that about 90 other rioters have trial dates currently set.

Obstruction of justice and obstruction of Congress, the most severe of Reffitt's charges, carry a maximum sentence of up to 20 years in prison, CNN reported. He is set to be sentenced on June 8.

Update 3/8/22 3:44 p.m. ET: This story has been updated with additional information and context, as well as quotes from Reffitt's wife and daughter.

Guy Reffitt Capitol Riot Trial Guilty
Guy Reffitt, the first Capitol rioter to go to trial, was found guilty on all counts Tuesday. Above, this artist sketch depicts Reffitt, joined by his lawyer William Welch, right, in federal court, in Washington, D.C., on February 28. Dana Verkouteren/San Francisco Chronicle via AP