A federal judge sentenced the first Capitol rioter to be convicted at trial so far to 7 years in prison, making it the longest term of incarceration thus far for a defendant in the Justice Department’s ongoing criminal investigation of the Jan.6 insurrection of the capitol, ABC News reports.
Guy Wesley Riffitt of Wylie, Texas, aged 49, was convicted by a federal jury of five felony counts while he was on trial in March. It includes obstruction of justice, as well as entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds with a firearm.
Federal prosecutors with the Department of Justice asked that he be sentenced to the maximum sentence which was 15 years in prison. Prosecutors also asked a federal district court judge to apply a terrorism enhancement to the sentencing, which would effectively define under the law that a rioter’s actions amounted to domestic terrorism. This is the first time this has ever happened.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Nestler said after the sentencing that they believe what Riffitt was doing that day does indeed amount to domestic terrorism, and that he is a domestic terrorist.
But the judge overseeing Reffitt’s case, Dabney Friedrich, turned down the request.
Friedrich said that there were multiple other defendants from the Jan. 6 attack where the Justice Department chose not to pursue the terrorism enhancement despite their conduct appearing to be much more threatening and serious.
Reffitt is among more than 850 people who have been charged in connection with the deadly breach of the Capitol building on Jan. 6, 2021, by supporters of then-president Donald Trump, hoping to stop the transfer of power to Joe Biden, whom Trump lost the presidential election to.
The insurrection disrupted a joint session of Congress convened to ascertain and count the electoral votes related to the 2020 election.
Over 200 defendants have already pleaded guilty to different misdemeanors and felony charges. Some were sentenced to years in federal prison.
During the trial, prosecutors sought to show how Reffitt, who is a member of the Texas Three Percenters militia group, was a ringleader of one of the first waves of the violent mob that breached the Capitol from the west side of the building. Videos showed the Capitol rioter climbing banisters into the building.
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