Accused U.S. Capitol rioter threatened his children, prosecutors say

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FILE PHOTO: Supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump gather in Washington
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By Mark Hosenball

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A Texas man charged with participating in the deadly Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot by supporters of former President Donald Trump threatened his teenage son and daughter with violence if they reported him to police, according to federal investigators.

Guy Reffitt, of Wylie, Texas, faces five federal criminal charges, including bringing guns to the Capitol and using physical force and the threat of physical force against his children to stop them from providing information to investigators.

U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich held a pretrial hearing in the case on Friday. Reffitt is jailed in Washington awaiting trial. During the riot, police used pepper spray to halt Reffitt outside the Capitol.

Prosecutors have subpoenaed his son, daughter and wife.

The FBI said in a criminal complaint that Reffitt after the riot told his son that he would "do what he had to do" if the son reported him to police, which the son interpreted as a threat to his life. The complaint also said Reffitt threatened to "put a bullet through" his daughter's cellphone.

The 18-year-old son told the New York Times that Reffitt told him: "You're a traitor. And you know what happens to traitors. Traitors get shot."

Prosecutors have said Reffitt traveled to Washington with an AR-15 rifle and a Smith & Wesson .40 caliber handgun. The complaint noted that his wife said Reffitt is a member of the "Three Percenters" right-wing militia.

Defense lawyer William Welch told the judge that Reffitt wants to go forward with a trial beginning Nov. 15 even though the prosecution said it is still going through mountains of evidence.

The rioters had sought to prevent the formal congressional certification of Trump's 2020 re-election loss.

Although Reffitt never actually entered the Capitol, prosecutors have said he charged at police officers on the stairs outside the building and that they "unsuccessfully tried to repel him" with nonlethal projectiles "before successfully halting his advances with pepper spray."

(Reporting By Mark Hosenball; Editing by Will Dunham and Scott Malone)