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First man convicted in Jan. 6 Capitol attack is sentenced to 7 years in prison

On Monday sentenced the first defendant to be put on trial for involvement in the Jan. 6 attack at the U.S. Capitol last year to seven years in prison.  A jury in Washington had convicted 49-year-old Guy Wesley Reffitt from Wylie, Texas on five felony counts back in March, including obstruction of justice and entering and remaining in a restricted building while armed.

District Judge Dabney Friedrich said that Reffitt’s initial reluctance to admit that his behavior was illegal “is concerning” as he handed down the sentence.  Said Friedrich: “I want to be very clear … under no legitimate definition of the term ‘patriot’ does Mr. Reffitt’s behavior on and around Jan. 6 fit the term. It is the antithesis of the word. The officers at the Capitol are the patriots, as well as those who fought and even died to protect our democracy, our rule of law … those in the mob are not. Not only are they patriots, they’re a direct threat to our democracy and will be punished as such.”

Federal prosecutors had asked Friedrich to classify Reffitt’s crimes as acts of domestic terrorism, seeking a 15-year sentence which would become the longest sentence to date related to the Capitol attack. Reffitt’s lawyers sought a sentence of two years or less, arguing that he never entered the building or assaulted any Capitol Police officers during the assault.

Cose to 900 others have been charged in connection with the Jan. 6 attack, which was carried out by radical supporters of President Donald Trump who sought to overthrow Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory. More than 200 defendants have pleaded guilty to various felony and misdemeanor charges and some have begun serving their sentences.

Editorial credit: lev radin / Shutterstock.com

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