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"PortraitA Trump supporter, a member of a far-right Texas militia, he carried a gun and threatened the Speaker of the House. A member of a far-right militia in the United States who participated in the January 2021 Capitol invasion – when a mob of supporters of the former president Donald Trump tried to stop the confirmation of Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential elections – he was sentenced this Monday (02/08) to seven years and three months in prison.

Guy Reffitt, from Wylie, Texas, took part in the invasion of US Congressional headquarters wearing a helmet, bulletproof vest and carrying a pistol and plastic handcuffs. In March, he had been convicted by a jury on five counts, including unauthorized possession of weapons on Capitol Hill and obstruction of official procedure.

The sentence for Reffitt, who was 49 years old when he was convicted in March, was the longest imposed so far for those accused of involvement in the invasion of Congress, but it was less than half of the 15 years in prison ordered by one of the prosecutors who called the case. right-wing extremist as a domestic terrorist.

Reffitt never entered the Capitol, but video footage showed him walking through the crowd and leading other extremists up a staircase at the side of the building. Before heading to Capitol Hill, he was at the rally held by Trump, in which the former president urged his supporters to travel to the seat of Congress.

Until now, the heaviest punishments associated with the invasion had been 5 years and 3 months, but the two defendants who received those sentences agreed to settle with the courts. Of the 13 trials that have taken place in cases associated with January 6, 2021, federal prosecutors have only been denied one of the convictions.

“Chaotic and Confused”

According to prosecutors, Reffitt, who was a member of the Texas Three Percenters (“The Three Percent of Texas”) militia, told his comrades that he planned to drag House Speaker Nancy Pelosi out of the Capitol by her ankles “with her head knocking on every step” of the stairs.

He was the first to be put on trial for crimes committed that January 6, when Trump supporters managed to stop certifying the Democratic victory in the election. The judge in the case also sentenced him to three years of probation after his arrest and imposed a fine of two thousand dollars in restitution.

Reffitt, who has already served 19 months in prison, initially refused to testify before the judge, but eventually changed his mind. He apologized to the police, but could not explain why he took part in the events, saying that everything was “chaotic and confusing”.

Threats to own child

The judge in the case, however, questioned Reffitt’s sincerity and recalled that he published statements after his arrest where he painted himself, along with other detainees, as a patriot who rebelled against the “tyranny” of the American government. He said he made these statements in order to raise money for his family.

“Mr. Reffitt’s reluctance to admit earlier that his behavior is illegal is worrying. And I want to be very clear: there is no legitimate definition of the term ‘patriot’ that encompasses Mr. Refitt’s behavior on or around the 6th of January. . It’s the antithesis of that word,” said Magistrate Dabney Friedrich.

Reffitt lived with his wife and children, one of whom reported during the trial that he was threatened by his father if he betrayed him. “He told me, ‘if you turn me in, you are a traitor, and traitors are shot’.”

rc (AP, Reuters)

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