First Capitol Rioter to Take Case to Court Will Spend Over Seven Years in Prison

Guy Reffitt, a recruiter for a right-wing anti-government militia movement and the first person to be convicted at trial for his role in the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol, has been sentenced to more than seven years in prison.

Back in March, Reffitt, a 49-year-old from Wylie, Texas, who belongs to the Texas Three Percenters, was convicted on five charges stemming from his role in the insurrection. The charges included obstructing an official government proceeding, interfering with police during a riot, illegally transporting a firearm, armed trespassing, and witness tampering for threatening his son, who turned him in to the FBI upon his return from D.C.

The 87-month sentence, which was handed down on Monday, is the longest prison term yet to result from the Capitol attack.

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As The Washington Post reports, prosecutors had tried to get the judge to hand down a harsher terrorism sentencing penalty that could’ve landed Reffitt in prison for 15 years, as opposed to the 9-to-11 years recommended under federal guidelines. 

Meanwhile, Reffitt’s lawyer, F. Clinton Broden, tried to secure a two-year stint for his client, arguing that Reffitt neither committed any violence, nor had any criminal history. Broden also argued that Reffitt shouldn’t be punished for taking his case to trial, claiming other Jan. 6 defendants who pleaded guilty to more severe charges (like assaulting a police officer) received lighter sentences. (Broden did not immediately return Rolling Stone’s request for comment.)

Ultimately, Judge Dabney L. Friedrich settled on 87 months for Reffitt. During the sentencing hearing, Friedrich called Reffitt’s views promoting political violence “absurd” and “delusional,” and criticized his efforts to boost his stature as a “patriot” and “martyr” from prison. 

“He is in a class of his own so far as I’m aware in terms of what he was doing there that day, and what he claimed what he was there to do,” Friedrich said.

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