A far-right activist from Texas, during his trial for his participation in the violent assault on the US Congress on Jan. 6, 2021, witnessed his defense being undermined Thursday by the shocking testimony of his son who denounced him to police.
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Jay Rivette, 49, of Willie, near Dallas, is accused of being one of the leaders of the wave of hundreds of protesters who attacked the headquarters of American democracy when elected officials endorsed Democrat Joe Biden.
He pleads not guilty, and ensures that he did not break any law and was not aggressive against the police. He faces up to 20 years in prison after the first trial against an attacker on January 6.
This member of the far-right “Three Percenters” militia, who had shown no emotion until then, broke into tears several times while listening to his son Jackson’s testimony.
The 19-year-old said his “very good” relationship with his father had deteriorated since 2016.
In December 2020, his father attacked American politicians in the family discussion group: “I’m going to Washington. They should all leave,” adding: “What will happen will shake the whole world.”
The young man said that when he returned to Willie, his father had his AR-15 automatic rifle and pistol in his car.
Jay Rivett later claimed, in a conversation secretly recorded by his son, that several protesters had come to Washington to arm him, in violation of federal laws.
Jackson Rivett also testified that his father threatened to kill him: “If you denounce me, you are a traitor. And traitors we kill.”
“Terrified” by these words, he decided to take the recorded conversation to the FBI and his father was arrested a few days later.
His family “did it really badly” when he reported that his father and Jackson had left the family home.
“I don’t regret it, it’s the best that can happen,” he explained, concluding his testimony in an emotional voice.
The verdict will be scrutinized in light of the number of arrests (more than 750) and charges in this historically significant investigation lasting more than a year after the facts.
In order to avoid prosecution, more than 200 defendants have pleaded guilty and about 70 of them have already been tried in federal courts. The harshest sentence was five years in prison.
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