As the first trial for a January 6 US Capitol riot defendant approaches, prosecutors are laying out a strategy that includes calling a member of former Vice President Mike Pence’s security detail and the defendant’s two children to the stand.
The trial of Guy Reffitt, a Texas Three Percenter, is scheduled to start at the end of February. Prosecutors revealed the possible witnesses and evidence they plan to present to jurors in a court filing on Monday.
The list shows the vast amount of evidence the Department of Justice has gathered in the past year, as prosecutors have brought cases against hundreds of people, and on how they plan to approach what could be dozens of trials in the coming months.
As of Tuesday, 209 people have pleaded guilty to Capitol attack-related charges. Of those pleading not guilty, Reffitt is set to be the first to go to trial.
Reffitt allegedly drove to Washington with guns in his car in the days before January 6, 2021, with another member of the Three Percenters militia. Prosecutors allege that Reffitt took a gun to the Capitol, where he engaged in a prolonged battle with police.
Afterward, prosecutors say, Reffitt returned to Texas and told his daughter and son that if they turned him in to authorities, they were traitors, and “traitors get shot.”
Reffitt has pleaded not guilty to five charges, including entering restricted grounds with a deadly weapon and obstruction of an official proceeding.
His lawyer has previously argued that an official proceeding was not technically underway during the riot and pointed to earlier testimony from Reffitt’s daughter that she hadn’t taken the threats seriously because he was a “drama queen.”
Children to testify
The Justice Department plans to call 13 witnesses during the historic trial, it told the court.
Prosecutors elaborated on their plans to question Reffitt’s children about his mindset after the riot and to introduce recordings that Reffitt’s 18-year-old son secretly took of his father in the days after the riot.
Prosecutors plan to play the recording of Reffitt allegedly threatening his children.
Both children previously testified to a grand jury about their fathers’ alleged threats. Reffitt’s son, Jackson, left the family home after turning his father in, essentially disappearing and living in what the Justice Department calls an undisclosed location.
The trial will be the first time the family has been in the same room since January 2021, Reffitt’s lawyer said in a recent hearing.
Officers and other witnesses
The witness list also include four members of the US Capitol Police who faced Reffitt during the riot, four FBI agents assigned to his case, a Senate staffer and a member of the Texas Three Percenters who traveled with Reffitt to and from DC.
Prosecutors plan to put Reffitt’s fellow Three Percenter on the stand to discuss the weapons and tactical gear Reffitt allgedly brought to DC as well as the conversations and plans the two had during the trip.
He would also discuss Reffitt’s actions at the Capitol. The man, identified in court records only as “R.H.,” is the first person revealed to have immunity in the sprawling January 6 investigation.
Capitol Police officers are expected to testify as to their interaction with Reffitt, including how they shot pepper balls at him and used pepper spray to stop him from advancing toward the Capitol, as well as what he said during the struggle. Even after a violent interaction with police, Reffitt was not deterred from pushing forward, prosecutors say.
The witness list also includes a Secret Service agent to testify to the agency’s security planning for January 6 and how Pence and his family were forced to hide in a garage inside the Capitol complex.
FBI agents involved in the investigation into Reffitt will also testify about the investigation, their search of Reffitt’s home, and information and videos they retrieved from his laptop.
One of the agents, Special Agent Laird Hightower, is expected to talk in detail about a pistol holster found in Reffitt’s bedroom as well as pictures captured on January 6 of “what appears to be a holster” around Reffitt’s waist at the Capitol. Reffitt is one of several defendants accused of carrying a gun on January 6.
The filing outlines how prosecutors plan to present surveillance video that allegedly shows Reffitt on Capitol grounds. Prosecutors say they plan to use location data from Reffitt’s phone to explain his movements throughout the day.
Reffitt wore a camera strapped to his helmet during the riot, and prosecutors plan to play at least some of that video during the trial.
According to prosecutors, FBI agents discovered zip tie flex cuffs, paperwork relating to the Texas Three Percenters, a helmet, a firearm and ammunition in Reffitt’s home, all of which they plan to introduce during the trial.