Prosecutors' witness list offers glimpse into Jan. 6 trial strategy

“Wade will generally explain the ’emergency actions’ that the USSS took in response to the riot: relocating Vice President Pence and his family members, bringing additional USSS personnel to the Capitol, and relocating the Vice President’s motorcade,” prosecutors say.

The witnesses also include three Capitol Police officers who say they attempted to stop Refitt’s advance with pepper balls and chemical spray.

Sgt. Adam DesCamp, Sgt. Matthew Flood and Officer Shauni Kerkhoff are expected to describe confronting Reffitt outside the Capitol as well as calling for and deploying their non-lethal weapons against him. Their testimony will be supported by surveillance video clips, radio clips and photos taken of their interactions with Refitt.

A fourth Capitol Police official, Inspector Monique Moore, is also slated to testify. Moore oversaw the department’s command center that day and prosecutors say she will discuss the riot’s overall impact on the department, as well as its effect on the ongoing effort by Congress to count Electoral College votes.

The witness list also reveals that jurors will get a history lesson on the Electoral Count Act from former Senate aide Daniel Schwager, who was counsel to the secretary of the Senate on Jan. 6, 2021, and was on the Senate floor when rioters broke into the building and forced them to evacuate. Schwager, prosecutors say, will explain to jurors how the Jan. 6 session of Congress worked and its significance in finalizing the results of presidential elections.

The witness list underscores the complexity of the case prosecutors must lay out to establish proof beyond a reasonable doubt that Reffitt breached Capitol grounds with the intent of disrupting Congress’ Electoral College counting session — and that his actions contributed to interrupting that process. To do that, jurors must have an understanding of the complicated Jan. 6 proceedings and intricate procedures followed by the Capitol Police, the Secret Service and the FBI.

Refitt’s case is one of the more unusual to emerge from the Capitol riot in part because of his family’s role. He was one of the first rioters arrested and charged with felonies after the Jan. 6 attack and has been held in pretrial detention for nearly a year.

Reffitt’s trial is slated to begin Feb. 28 and could be the first arising from the Capitol attack to come before a jury. But federal trials have been in flux and repeatedly postponed as the courts grapple with Covid-related restrictions and delays. Judges have emphasized they intend to prioritize trials for detained defendants like Reffitt.

The Justice Department revealed it plans to call Refitt’s two children — including his son Jackson Refitt, who reported his father to the FBI in December 2020 and then secretly recorded him after he returned home from Washington in January 2021. Jackson Refitt has publicly talked about his efforts in variousmedia interviews over the past year.

Both of Refitt’s children are expected to testify about what the government has described as threats their father made to his family to prevent them from reporting him to federal investigators.

In addition, prosecutors say they will call a fellow member of the Three Percenter militia group that Reffitt was part of. This associate “traveled with the defendant from Texas to Washington, DC, and back between January 4 and 8, 2021,” they say.
“He will testify about how he knows the defendant, discussions he had with the defendant, their travel arrangements, the defendant’s firearms and tactical gear, and the defendant’s movements and actions.”

The witness, only identified as RH in the new filing, was granted immunity in exchange for his testimony.

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