It’s time to Break It Down!
Much of the on-going focus on January 6 has revolved around the hearings. Depending upon which side of the (political) aisle one resides, the view of the results of the hearings has been, either, an extended yawn fest (right wing Trump-fawning election deniers…most of whom claim they really haven’t watched) or riveting must-see TV (left leaning Biden-voting Citadel of democracy defenders, many of whom have been left with out-sized expectations). I write these descriptions without passing judgment. I think folks on each side of the divide would recognize themselves, and challenge others to explain, “What’s wrong with that?” If anything, they’d be more likely to challenge the adjectives ascribed to those on the other side. At least those on the right would…in my opinion.
We are beginning to see another category of interested parties emerge. Early on, most of the people tried and convicted for the roles they played in the insurrection/coup attempt were given minimal sentences. There was a sense that a mere slap on the wrist was the order of the day. When all is said and done, there may still be more of those, than sentences of real consequence. However, one thing has become clear. Even if cupcake sentences are the rule, there will be exceptions to the norm.
Guy Reffitt was sentenced on Monday for five felony counts, including obstructing an official proceeding of Congress; trespassing at the Capitol while carrying a holstered semiautomatic handgun; interfering with police in a riot; and witness tampering. Guy’s wife Nicole insisted repeatedly that Guy was, “Just all talk, and wouldn’t hurt anyone.” Maybe so, but on Monday, Guy officially joined the ranks of the, “About These Streets,” as Judge Dabney Friedrich sentenced him to seven years and three months, or, to put it in the parlance of the United States House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack, 87 months.
Reffitt’s involvement in the events of January 6, and his subsequent trial, conviction, and sentencing provide not only keen insight into the general mind set of Trump supporters who came to Washington on J6, but also levels a specific object lesson for people who like Reffitt, opted or who will opt to reject a plea deal and instead push their case to the courts. The keen insight revealed that Trumpers wanted to be there, and they believed Trump wanted them to come to Washington to help him…”Stop the (alleged) Steal.” The specific object lesson disclosed that there is ample, in fact, preponderant) evidence, in video, audio, and digital formats, for the government to prove its case, and unless one wants to be a martyr, or one is content to wait for Trump’s “re-election” to be pardoned, it behooves one to cooperate, and take the deal. In Reffitt’s case in particular, the volume of evidence of this bragging – detailed in texts, videos, and audio – convinced jurors of his guilt, in a unanimous verdict on all counts, in March, after less than four hours of deliberations.
That brings me to the next point. How did we get here? Jackson, the son of Guy Reffitt, the first US Capitol riot defendant to go to trial rather than take a plea agreement, said his father “absolutely” deserves the 87-month prison sentence that was handed down Monday. Reffitt, who was sentenced Monday, had been convicted by a DC jury in March of five felonies — wanting to obstruct the congressional certification of the 2020 presidential election, transporting guns into DC, carrying a handgun onto Capitol grounds, interfering with Capitol Police protecting the Upper West Terrace and obstructing justice by threatening his daughter and son, who had turned him into the FBI.
Prosecutors played the audio in court from one of the videos Reffitt taped on January 6 at the Capitol. In the recording, Guy Reffitt talked about the Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, referring to her in abusive language while speaking of a vague plan for “dragging” her out of the Capitol.
During the trial, Capitol Police officers testified about battling Guy Reffitt outside the Capitol on January 6, 2021, and prosecutors called him a leader of the crowd. He also recorded a video on January 6 in which he made threatening comments about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell.
Weeks before Guy Reffitt drove from his hometown of Wylie, Texas, to Washington DC to storm the US Capitol, his son Jackson, 18 at the time, had already tipped-off the FBI.
It was a string of messages from his father on Christmas Eve to the family text chain that alarmed Jackson. In them, the older Reffitt announced his intention to go to the nation’s capital “to rise up the way the Constitution was written”.
During his testimony, Jackson said that he reported his father to the FBI because he was worried about his plans.
“We took the United States Capitol,” he texted his family after the siege. “We are the Republic of the People.”
When he returned home to Texas, Guy Reffitt spoke with his son and other members of his family about his experiences. He bragged about his role in the Capitol assault, said Jackson in his testimony.
“I started the fire,” Guy Reffitt told his family. He did not know that his son was secretly recording him on his mobile phone.
He threatened his son, warning him not to tell the authorities.
“If you turn me in, you’re a traitor,” his father told Jackson. “And traitors get shot.”
After the verdict, Nicole claimed her husband was used as an example to make all the one-sixers (6 January defendants) take a plea. “Do not take a plea one-sixers,” she urged, “we got this.”
Nathan Reffitt, Guy’s brother, a 50-year-old electrician, called Jackson a “snowflake” and overly sensitive.
“My nephew turned against his father. It’s sad that our country has come to this.”
Jackson, meanwhile, tweeted that it was “impossible to be happy” about the verdict. “My father could have possibly been home by now getting mental help if he took a plea deal.”
Peyton and Sarah Reffitt, Guy’s daughters, took to Twitter and assailed Donald Trump. Sarah lamented her father’s treatment, observing that Trump might be elected again. Meanwhile, Peyton asserted that if their father got that long a sentence, Trump, whom she had previously noted was whose “name was on the flags,” deserves a life sentence. “Chickens Coming Home To Roost: Slowly, Surely, Inexorably!”
I’m done; holla back!
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