WASHINGTON — In a defiant jailhouse letter just days before his trial is set to begin, a Texas defendant in the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol declared himself a political prisoner and said he was ready to “receive the bullet of freedom.”
Jury selection was scheduled to begin Monday morning for 49-year-old Guy Reffitt, of Wylie, Texas. Reffitt, an alleged member of the anti-government Three Percenters militia movement, is facing five felony charges for his role in the Capitol riot.
Reffitt has been in court all week with his attorney, William Welch III, trying to nail down jury instructions. On Thursday, a Telegram channel dedicated to sharing messages from detained Jan. 6 defendants posted a letter from Reffitt taking aim at the justice system and calling on fellow “patriots” to support him. Reffitt’s wife, Nicole, confirmed the message’s authenticity to WUSA.
“The beginning of the 1/6 Political Prisoner trials,” Reffitt wrote. “Orwellian thought crimes, Spies, and the Ministry of Truth.”
Judges presiding over Capitol riot cases have repeatedly shot down the idea that defendants are "political prisoners." In August, U.S. District Judge Amy B. Jackson told Karl Dresch, of Michigan, he was in jail not because of his support for former President Donald Trump but because he was an "enthusiastic participant in an effort to subvert the electoral process."
Last year, Reffitt requested, and was denied, a change of venue for his case. He was one of a number of defendants who argued potential D.C. jurors would be too biased against him and other Jan. 6 defendants to render a fair verdict. As of Thursday, Reffitt still seemed invested in the idea, writing that he could be acquitted or jury selection might fail, resulting in the case being moved to Texas.
Neither option is very likely, according to Neama Rahmani, a former federal prosecutor who now serves as the president of West Coast Trial Lawyers.
“You’re not going to get an outright acquittal on a case like this,” Rahmani said. “You have an avalanche of evidence. There’s videos of him with the Three Percenters in Texas. You have a cooperating witness who traveled with him to Washington, D.C. You have his own children who are going to testify as to the threats he made. You have his geolocation on a cell phone. You have his Telegram messages. The videos he took when he was in D.C. So, combine this with the participant law enforcement testimony, who are going to say how they feared they had to use pepper balls and chemical spray to really control this individual. I predict a guilty verdict in this case.”
In charging documents, federal prosecutors say it took three U.S. Capitol Police officers to repel Reffitt – who, they will tell a jury, was armed with a handgun on Jan. 6 – from entering the Capitol. Reffitt was turned in by his son, Jackson. He’s set to testify that his father threatened his life if he cooperated with law enforcement.
Reffitt has been held in custody at the D.C. Jail since his arrest in mid-January. Judges have repeatedly denied him bond, finding his alleged threats to his family and statements about further violence were convincing evidence he was a danger.
In his statement Thursday, Reffitt called the prosecution against him a “secret tribunal” and said he was “prepared to stare down the barrel of tyranny and receive the bullet of freedom.”
Reffitt's trial is open to the public and media and WUSA reporters Jordan Fischer and Nathan Baca will be at the federal courthouse in D.C. throughout providing live coverage. Read our trial guide to learn everything you need to know about the case, and subscribe to our weekly "Capitol Breach" newsletter for the latest news on Jan. 6 cases.