Thursday, June 20, 2024
A New Take On Journalism

Pistols, Assault Rifles, Zip Ties: Witness Describes Preparation for Jan. 6

By , in Politics , at March 5, 2022

A witness within the trial of Man Reffitt, the primary particular person to face a jury on prices stemming from the Capitol assault, stated they needed to be ready in case “one thing unhealthy occurred.”

WASHINGTON — Simply earlier than they went to listen to President Donald J. Trump communicate on the day of the Capitol riot final 12 months, Rocky Hardie, on the time a member of a Texas militia, and a pal, Man Wesley Reffitt, made their preparations, Mr. Hardie testified in federal courtroom on Friday.

They strapped pistols to their our bodies, he stated, and left assault rifles at the back of their automotive simply in case “one thing unhealthy occurred” they usually “wanted to get them shortly.”

Mr. Hardie by no means went into the Capitol that day, however his account helped bolster the government’s claims that Mr. Reffitt, the primary defendant in a Jan. 6 prosecution to face trial, had been at the forefront of an advance on the police outdoors the constructing.

Whereas the 2 males misplaced one another within the crowd, they met up later at their lodge, Mr. Hardie stated, the place Mr. Reffitt, displaying off his accidents, bragged about strolling by means of a barrage of pepper balls and urging the mob round him to push ahead.

The account by Mr. Hardie, a onetime member of the Texas Three Percenters militia group, got here on the fifth day of Mr. Reffitt’s trial — the primary of greater than 700 instances associated to the Capitol assault to achieve a courtroom. On Thursday, in an unusually emotional look, Mr. Reffitt’s teenage son testified against him, saying he had turned his father in to the F.B.I.

Mr. Reffitt has been charged with 5 counts associated to the riot, together with obstructing the work of Congress on Jan. 6, 2021, when a joint session of the Home and the Senate met to certify the outcomes of the 2020 election.

On the finish of the day on Friday, Mr. Reffitt’s lawyer, William Welch, stated it was unlikely that he would name any witnesses in protection of his consumer. Decide Dabney L. Friedrich, who’s presiding over the trial, stated the case might go to the jury early subsequent week.

A balding and bespectacled man who runs a enterprise making “in-ear earphones,” as he referred to as them, Mr. Hardie, who has since left the militia group, was testifying below an immunity cope with the federal government. In his two hours on the stand, he gave the jury perception into the arcane world of right-wing militias and traced the arc of his relationship with Mr. Reffitt from early conferences of the Three Percenters to their 2,000-mile street journey to Washington final 12 months.

The 2 males, each from Texas, met in the summertime of 2020, amid a spate of racial justice protests — at a time, as Mr. Hardie put it, when “YouTube was full of individuals rioting and burning and firebombing.” Each had joined the Texas Three Percenters, a state group affiliated with a nationwide far-right motion that takes its identify from the supposed three % of the U.S. colonial inhabitants that fought towards the British.

Mr. Reffitt struck Mr. Hardie as a can-do form of man, and sooner or later they received collectively in an area park to debate politics and their mutual loathing of Congress. Each agreed that Speaker Nancy Pelosi was “evil incarnate” and that almost all Washington politicians have been “corrupt and destroying the nation,” Mr. Hardie stated.

Their concern concerning the nation deepened after the election — “a catastrophic occasion,” as Mr. Hardie referred to as it, which they believed had been marred by fraud and dishonest. By then, a bunch chat shared by the Texas Three Percenters was marked by “an apocalyptic tone,” he stated, as a number of members mentioned the vote outcomes and finally a plan to go to Washington in January.

Mr. Hardie and Mr. Reffitt determined to go collectively, and after packing radios, physique armor, two pistols and a pair of AR-15 rifles into the again of a Chevrolet Equinox owned by Mr. Reffitt’s spouse, they left for Washington on Jan. four and spent the night time in Nashville. On the street, Mr. Hardie stated, they chatted about their households, politics and the truth that sure “folks should be taken out of presidency.”

Once they arrived in Washington on Jan. 5, they checked into the Melrose lodge and left their weapons locked within the automotive, Mr. Hardie stated. Within the morning, Mr. Reffitt gave his associate a pair of plastic hand ties in case they “wanted to detain anybody,” Mr. Hardie stated.

The 2 males additionally donned their pistols, he stated — Mr. Reffitt’s on his hip, Mr. Hardie’s below his armpit in a shoulder holster — and readied their rifles for motion, leaving them within the cargo bay of the Equinox. Mr. Hardie informed the jury that they have been primarily involved about “violence from these violent teams like antifa.”

After listening to Mr. Trump’s speech, Mr. Hardie stated, he misplaced Mr. Reffitt within the crowd that was making its approach towards the Capitol. The 2 met hours later at their lodge, he stated, the place Mr. Reffitt’s face was purple from pepper spray and his legs have been badly bruised from police projectiles.

Mr. Hardie stated he was impressed by Mr. Reffitt’s story of confronting the police outdoors the constructing and urging the group to storm up a staircase main towards the Senate chamber. He recalled that Mr. Reffitt had particularly talked about an officer who fired a number of pepper balls at him and appeared to panic when he was undeterred.

He recounted for the jury what Mr. Reffitt stated he informed the officer: “Woman, I don’t wish to damage you, however each time you shoot me, I’m going to maneuver ahead.”

A way of tension set in when the 2 males returned to Texas and found inside days that the chief of the Texas Three Percenters had been detained by the authorities. In a bunch chat message to his compatriots, Mr. Reffit warned them to “be ready,” including, “THIS IS NOT A DRILL.”

When prosecutors requested Mr. Hardie about his response to the chief’s arrest, his reply was brief and easy.

“Uh-oh,” he stated.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *