JFederal Judge Dabney L. Friedrich has rejected an attempt by Capitol rioter Guy Reffitt to get his case moved out of D.C. and to Texas. As explained by reporter Jordan Fischer, Reffitt was “arguing, as other Capitol riot defendants have, that D.C. is [too] prejudicial against conservatives/Trump supporters,” but like each and every judge who’d previously faced such an argument from a Capitol rioter, Friedrich rejected that notion. Reffitt’s trial is set for the middle of next month, meaning that he seems set to become the first Capitol rioter to actually stand trial. A significant portion of Capitol riot defendants — although not a majority of them — have accepted plea deals.
Reffitt’s charges include obstruction of an official proceeding and obstruction of justice. The latter charge is connected to violent threats that he made against members of his family in an attempt to pressure them into helping keep his participation in the riot quiet. In addition, Reffitt — who is being held in custody ahead of his trial — is affiliated with the far-right militia group known as the Three Percenters, which is one of a few such groups with ties to the Capitol violence. Friedrich ended up concluding this week that Reffitt had “not come close” to adequately supporting his attempt to get his case moved out of D.C. because of the supposed bias among local residents who’d be in his jury. In fact, Friedrich concluded that Reffitt failed to show that D.C. residents — and prospective jurors — are “presumptively biased against him.”
A previous judge who faced such an argument was federal Judge Amit Mehta, who was similarly dismissive of the claim that D.C. residents were biased against Capitol riot defendants. The defendant lodging that argument was Thomas Caldwell, who is affiliated with the far-right militia group known as the Oath Keepers and whose lawyer, David Fischer, argued that D.C. residents “despise many things that traditional America stands for.” Mehta characterized that argument as “not acceptable,” pointedly adding that Caldwell had failed to meet “his heavy burden of establishing that the jury pool in the District of Columbia is presumptively biased against him, or any other Defendant.” Meanwhile, read more about the Reffitt case at this link.