Witness Testifies Guy Reffitt Of Wylie Wanted To Remove ‘Corrupt’ Lawmakers During Capitol Riot – CBS Dallas / Fort Worth
WASHINGTON (CBSDFW.COM/AP) – The first particular person to be tried within the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol was a Texas militia member who advocated for bodily eradicating and changing “corrupt” members of Congress as he drove to Washington, D.C., a former group member testified Friday, March 4.
Rocky Hardie, a key authorities witness on the trial of Guy Wesley Reffitt, mentioned he didn’t imagine Reffitt would act on his speak of dragging lawmakers out of the Capitol and changing them with individuals who would “follow the Constitution.”
“I considered it hyperbole,” Hardie testified through the third day of Reffitt’s trial — the primary amongst a whole lot of instances stemming from the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the Capitol.
Reffitt, 49, of Wylie, is charged with bringing a gun onto Capitol grounds and interfering with cops guarding the constructing.
He is also charged with obstructing justice for allegedly threatening his youngsters in the event that they reported him to legislation enforcement after the riot.
Hardie, who was Reffitt’s passenger on their automobile experience to Washington, mentioned he was “pretty impressed” when Reffitt recounted what he did after they grew to become separated on their method to the Capitol.
“I felt like he had more courage than I did,” Hardie mentioned.
Hardie mentioned he met Reffitt by way of their membership within the “Texas Three Percenters.”
The Three Percenters militia motion refers back to the fantasy that solely 3% of American colonists fought in opposition to the British within the Revolutionary War.
During the trial’s opening statements on Wednesday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Nestler instructed jurors that Reffitt drove to Washington with Hardie as a result of he meant to storm the Capitol and attempt to cease Congress from certifying President Joe Biden’s electoral victory.
Reffitt “lit the match that started the fire” when a mob charged at cops guarding the constructing and was “the tip of this mob’s spear,” Nestler mentioned.
Defense legal professional William Welch disputed that Reffit had a gun on the Capitol and mentioned there is no such thing as a proof that Reffitt broken property, used pressure or bodily harmed anyone.
Hardie testified that he and Reffitt each had holstered pistols strapped to their our bodies once they attended then-President Donald Trump’s “Stop the Steal” rally after which headed to the Capitol. They each left rifles locked up in a automobile parked at a resort, Hardie mentioned.
Hardie mentioned Reffitt additionally gave him two pairs of zip-tie cuffs earlier than they left their resort room that day.
“What are those for?” Hardie recalled asking.
“In case we need to detain anybody,” Reffitt replied, in keeping with Hardie.
Prosecutors say Reffitt performed a management function when he and different rioters charged at cops on the west facet of the Capitol, however he isn’t accused of coming into the constructing. He retreated after an officer pepper-sprayed him within the face, in keeping with prosecutors.
Hardie mentioned he didn’t be a part of the a whole lot of rioters who entered the constructing, however he conceded that he introduced a gun right into a restricted space. He has an immunity settlement that stops prosecutors from utilizing his testimony in opposition to him, however the deal doesn’t insulate him from being charged with against the law for his actions on Jan. 6.
“Somebody in the government is going to decide: Did I lie or not lie,” he mentioned.
During Welch’s cross-examination, Hardie agreed that Reffitt is liable to bragging, utilizing hyperbole and embellishment.
Hardie, who lives close to Austin, Texas, mentioned he met Reffitt in particular person for the primary time earlier than the 2020 presidential election, discussing politics at a park.
“We talked about how the country is pretty much going down the tubes,” Hardie mentioned. They each considered House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as “evil incarnate” and believed the election had been stolen from Trump, Hardie testified.
“We did ask ourselves how far do you let things go before you take action to protect your country,” Hardie mentioned.
Hardie mentioned he went to Washington to “stand and be counted” and hoped the group’s presence would deter Congress from certifying the 2020 Electoral College vote depend. He mentioned he introduced a handgun with him to the rally as a result of he wished to guard himself or others if “antifa” counter-protesters attacked them.
“I didn’t think we or anybody was going to get close to the Capitol,” he mentioned. “I thought that was impossible.”
Earlier Friday, jurors noticed surveillance video of Secret Service brokers escorting Vice President Mike Pence out of an workplace on the Capitol after rioters stormed the constructing. Pence was presiding over the Senate when the riot erupted.
On Thursday, Reffitt’s son, Jackson, testified that he secretly recorded his father proudly describing his function within the riot and gave the audio file to an FBI agent after his father threatened him and his sister.
Prosecutors anticipate to relaxation their case Monday.
Reffitt’s trial might have a major impression on many different Capitol riot instances. A conviction would give prosecutors extra leverage to chop plea offers with others going through probably the most critical fees. An acquittal might embolden different riot defendants to hunt extra favorable plea phrases or gamble on trials of their very own.
More than 750 folks have been charged with federal crimes associated to the riot. Over 220 riot defendants have pleaded responsible, greater than 100 have been sentenced and not less than 90 others have trial dates.
(© Copyright 2022 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)