Reffitt, a recruiter for a right-wing militia known as the Three Percenters, was the first Capitol rioter to go to trial instead of entering into a plea deal.
“Mr Reffitt’s reluctance to admit early that his behavior is illegal is worrying,” district judge Dabney Friedrich said before handing down the 87-month sentence. “And I want to be very clear…under no legitimate definition of the term ‘patriot’ (fits) Mr. Reffitt’s behavior on and around January 6 with the term. It is the antithesis of the word.”
Friedrich added: “The Capitol officers are the patriots, as well as those who have fought and even died to protect our democracy and our rule of law … those in the crowd are not. Not only are they not patriots, they ‘ once again pose a direct threat to our democracy and be punished as such.”
Reffitt was convicted by a DC jury in March of five felonies, including transporting and carrying a firearm on the Capitol grounds, obstructing the Capitol’s police department, and obstructing official proceedings. He had driven to DC with several firearms, one of which he carried on the steps of the Capitol during the early hours of the riot.
“I just want Pelosi’s head to hit every goddamn step on the way out. … And so does (Republican leader) Mitch McConnell,” Reffitt said, according to a videotape he shot of himself on Jan. 6.
The hefty sentence, combined with the fact that each defendant will be sentenced before a jury on Jan. 6, could deter some of the hundreds of defendants awaiting trial on Jan. 6 from instead taking plea deals approved by the Department of Justice. Justice are offered.
The 87-month sentence is two years longer than any other prison sentence handed down to date at the Capitol.
Reffitt has been adamant in previous hearings about being the first defendant on Jan. 6 to take his case to court. But on Monday, in a plea for leniency ahead of his sentencing, he said he was a “damned idiot” who was babbling “founding fathers and stupid shit” around Jan. 6, and that he doubled down on that rhetoric for “money.” to earn” for his family during his legal battle.
“Looks like you wanted to be the big man, the important man, the first man to go to trial… the first man up there, to enjoy the press,” Friedrich told Reffitt. “You want to be an important person who makes a difference, and yet you deal with it the wrong way.”
“Exactly my point, Your Honor,” Reffitt said.
Reffitt’s wife and two daughters were in court when the verdict was handed down. Reffitt’s youngest daughter, Peyton, told the judge that her father is “no threat to my family” and that her family is “turning a blind eye” to his mental health issues.
“My father’s name wasn’t on all the flags that were there that day, that everyone was carrying that day. He’s not the leader,” Peyton said through tears, pausing sometimes with her hand on her heart.
The mother of Ashli Babbitt, the pro-Trump rioter who was shot dead by police on Jan. 6, was also occasionally in court on Monday.
Reffitt’s son Jackson, who testified against his father at the trial, was not in court. In a statement read by prosecutors, Jackson said his father “slowly lost himself over the past five years” but that “whether you think of him as a father, a relative or a friend, uses these labels to describe everything he’s done.” to justify is all wrong.”
Prosecutors had demanded a sentence nearly a decade longer than the harshest sentence to date by adding higher sentences to his terrorism sentence. Prosecutor Jeffrey Nestler told the judge Reffitt wanted to “physically and literally remove members of Congress from power” and that the administration believes “what he did that day was terrorism.”
“We do believe he is a domestic terrorist,” Nestler said Monday.
However, Friedrich did not add additional penalties for terrorism, saying it would create an “unjustified disparity” between Reffitt’s sentence and that of other rioters convicted of carrying weapons or threatening lawmakers.
This story has been updated with additional details.