The Justice Department plans to call a US Secret Service official to testify at the first scheduled trial against a US Capitol riot defendant this fall, according to a new court filing.
The disclosure came in the case of Guy Reffitt, a father from Texas who is accused of obstructing Congress’ certification of the 2020 election. He is scheduled to go to trial in mid-November in the first test before a jury among the more than 600 live Capitol riot cases.
Witness testimony from the Secret Service has the potential to be a major moment highlighting the peril for American elected officials during the insurrection — including former Vice President Mike Pence.
Reffitt has pleaded not guilty to his five charges.
Prosecutors said in their court filing Thursday that the Secret Service official could testify about the “Capitol breach’s effect on the Secret Service’s protection of Vice President Pence and his family members,” a major security concern during the siege that Republicans have tried to downplay or outright deny, in the months following the riot.
Pence had been rushed off of the Senate floor and evacuated to a secure location as rioters stormed the US Capitol due to the threat of danger.
At one point, officials at the White House were made aware of a plan to evacuate Pence to Joint Base Andrews, which never ultimately transpired. Pence remained at the Capitol and later returned to the Senate chamber to oversee the Electoral College certification.
The Justice Department wants to limit the questions asked of the Secret Service official at the trial, arguing that some questions about the protective service could impact security provided to public officials.
More than 600 people from 44 states and Washington, DC, have been charged in federal court, according to CNN’s latest tally, with authorities announcing new arrests on a near-daily basis.
So far, 19 Capitol rioters have been sentenced, mostly to federal misdemeanors. Eleven have received jail time.
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