Jury selection resumes for 1st Capitol Riot trial

WASHINGTON (AP) — Jury selection resumed on Tuesday in the first trial of one of hundreds of Donald Trump supporters charged with storming the U.S. Capitol last year.

The first Capitol riot defendant to stand trial is Guy Wesley Reffitt, a Texas man charged with bringing a firearm onto Capitol grounds and interfering with police officers guarding the building on January 6. 2021. Reffitt is also accused of threatening his teenage children. if they reported him to authorities after he returned to Wylie, Texas.

The judge presiding over Reffitt’s trial in Washington, DC, interviewed more than 30 potential jurors individually on Monday during the first day of jury selection. U.S. District Judge Dabney Freidrich said she hoped to complete jury selection on Tuesday to hear opening statements from attorneys later in the day.

Reffitt’s trial could be an indicator for many other Capitol riot cases. A conviction would give prosecutors more leverage in plea talks with others. An acquittal could inspire other defendants to push for a more favorable plea deal or play their own case.

More than 750 people have been charged with federal crimes related to the riot following President Donald Trump’s “Stop the Steal” rally. More than 200 of them have pleaded guilty, more than 100 have been convicted and at least 90 others have trial dates.

Reffitt is a member of a militia-like group called the “Texas Three Percenters,” according to prosecutors. The Three Percenters militia movement refers to the myth that only 3% of Americans fought in the Revolutionary War against the British.

Reffitt was armed with a holstered handgun and wearing a body armor when he and others charged at officers on the west side of the Capitol, prosecutors say. Reffitt only backed down after an officer pepper sprayed him in the face, prosecutors said.

Defense attorney William Welch said there was no evidence Reffitt damaged property, used force or physically injured anyone.

Reffitt faces five counts: obstructing official process, unlawfully being on Capitol grounds while armed with a firearm, transporting firearms during a civil disturbance, interfering with law enforcement during civil unrest and obstruction of justice.

The obstruction of justice charge stems from threats he allegedly made against his son, then 18, and daughter, then 16. Reffett told his children to “choose a side or die” and said they would be traitors if they reported him to law enforcement, prosecutors said.

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