The teenage son of Guy Reffitt took the witness stand to emotionally testify against his father during the first criminal trial of participants in the deadly U.S. Capitol riots of Jan. 6, 2021.
Jackson Reffitt, 19, told a federal court in Washington, D.C., on Thursday that he searched online for the FBI’s tip site to report his dad’s participation in the violence, and that he had confronted his father after he returned from the nation’s capitol.
“He said, ‘If you turn me in, you’re a traitor, and traitors get shot’” Jackson Reffitt told the jury while his father watched in the courtroom.
The elder Reffitt, 41, is the first defendant of more 700 to face trial in connection with the assault on the Capitol. Prosecutors presented evidence they said showed the father drove to Washington with a friend and fellow member of a Texas militia armed with zip ties and weapons, to lead a pro-Donald Trump assault on police outside the building.
It “felt gross” to be searching for the FBI site “to report my father,” Jackson told the court. His father is accused of transporting firearms from Texas to Washington, D.C., and of bringing a firearm to the Capitol. The father also faces an obstruction charge for allegedly threatening Jackson and his younger sister, Peyton, to keep quiet after the Capitol siege.
Prosecutors also presented video footage they said Reffitt captured using a 360-degree camera attached to his helmet on Jan. 6.
“We’re taking the Capitol before the day is over,” Reffitt was heard saying on the video. “Ripping them out by their hair — every f***ing one of them.”
Referring to Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Reffit said, “Pelosi’s coming out on her f***ing ears, dragging that b***h out hard core.”
Jackson Reffitt also said his father belonged to the Texas Three Percenters, a state militia group linked to the gun-rights movement. His father frequently wore his .40-caliber pistol on his hip as he went about his daily life, his son said.
Guy Reffitt’s defense attorney, William Welch, told jurors in opening statement that his client “uses a lot of hyperbole” and is prone to exaggerating.
Jackson Reffitt said he met with the FBI after his father returned from Washington and made the threat about “traitors,” His father was arrested within a week.
On Friday, a former member of the Texas Three Percenters, Rocky Hardie, testified he and Reffitt traveled to Washington in Reffitt’s Chevy Equinox, which was loaded with zip ties, rifles, handguns and ammunition.
Hardie said the two were aware of strict gun laws in the District of Columbia, but decided to take the risk.
“I think we used the phrase ‘It’s better to be tried by a jury of twelve than carried by six,’” Hardie testified.
Hardie said he still believed the presidential election was stolen from Donald Trump, and testified he was proud to attend the events of Jan. 6.
“I felt like it was historically significant. I actually showed up,” Hardie said. “I wasn’t ashamed.”
Hardie testified as part of an agreement with prosecutors that bans them from using his testimony about Reffitt to build a case against Hardie. But the agreement does not prohibit the government from filing charges against Hardie over his involvement on Jan. 6.
“You still haven’t been charged with a crime, correct?” Welch, Reffitt’s defense attorney, asked Hardie. Welch also noted Hardie had traveled for business to Mexico and Florida and had an upcoming trip planned for Thailand.
Hardie acknowledged it benefited him to testify in an attempt to avoid being charged.
“Somebody in the government is going to decide, did I lie or did I not lie,” Hardie said on the stand.