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First Capitol riot trial: Estranged son to take stand to testify against his father

Jackson Reffitt will testify at the trial of his father, Guy Reffitt.

WASHINGTON — When Jackson Reffitt goes on the witness stand to testify against his father, it won't be without trepidation.

"It might be my fault that I talked to authorities, but, I don't want to think that. He's an adult and he made his own decisions," Jackson, now 19, said.

He's been estranged from his family for more than a year since alerting the authorities to his father, 49-year-old Guy Wesley Reffitt, and his alleged participation in the Capitol riot. What's more, Jackson told them, when his father returned home he warned him and his sister that if they cooperated with police, they would "be traitors, and traitors get shot."

"What he was doing, he thought was right. But in the end, what he was doing was not right for him or his family or the country, even," Jackson said.

Reffitt, who has remained in custody since his arrest last January, is scheduled on Monday to be the first Jan. 6 defendant to go to trial.

Prosecutors will tell jurors Reffitt is a member of the anti-government Three Percenters movement and that, on Jan. 6, he came to D.C. intent on dragging members of Congress out of the Capitol "by their ankles." Three U.S. Capitol Police Officers will testify it took them multiple rounds of less-than-lethal munitions to repel him from doing so. In total, Reffitt faces five felony counts, including bringing a handgun with him onto the Capitol terrace.

Credit: Department of Justice
Guy Wesley Reffitt first to go to trial in US Capitol January 6 riot

Along with a fellow member of Reffitt's militia, Jackson will be one of the government's key witnesses.

"He would be like, I'm going to do something big! And, obviously, that was Washington, the Capitol riots," Jackson said.

RELATED: A Three Percenter who was turned in by his kids after Jan. 6 goes on trial - Here's everything you need to know

The teen first flagged his father to the FBI, he said, after becoming increasingly concerned with his dad's violent rhetoric. He received a call from the FBI just days after the riot, asking if his father had been there.

Jackson told him yes, even after Reffitt threatened him and his younger sister. Jackson told CNN that it felt like the right thing to do.

"Him saying anything, even remotely threatening, to me and my sister and my family and government officials, it was just too much," he said.

Both Jackson and his sister Peyton will be called as witnesses — making it a unique case, according to former U.S. attorney Neama Rahmani.

"Not only did they turn their father in to law enforcement," he said, "their testimony puts him at the scene of the crime. It forms the basis of the obstruction of justice charge with respect to the witnesses."

Rahmani, who now serves as president of the California-based West Coast Trial Lawyers, said Reffitt faces an "avalanche" of evidence against him: "There's videos of him with the Three Percenters. You have a cooperating witness that traveled with him to Washington, D.C. You have his own children who will testify to the threats he made. You have his geolocation on his cellphone. You have his Telegraph messages. You have videos that he took when he was in DC."

On Thursday, a Telegram account dedicated to posting messages from detained Capitol riot defendants posted a note from Reffitt. His wife, Nicole, confirmed the statement to WUSA9.

"I am prepared to stare down the barrel of tyranny to receive the bullet of freedom," Reffitt said. 

If convicted, Reffitt faces up to 20 years in prison on each count of obstruction, and up to 10 years for entering restricted grounds with a firearm. 

To keep up to date on the latest, 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. 

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