On January 6, a rioter who set foot in Pelosi’s office is sentenced to more than 4 years in prison

An Arkansas man who became famous for stepping on a desk in Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office during the attack on the Capitol by supporters of President Donald J. Trump was sentenced to four and a half years in prison on Wednesday. .

The man, Richard ‘Bigo’ Barnett, was found guilty at a trial in January of eight criminal offenses including interfering with law enforcement during a civil disorder and obstructing certification of the 2020 elections that took place at the Capitol on January 6. 2021.

After deliberating for less than three hours, a jury in the federal district court in Washington rejected Mr. Barnett’s testimony that he had ended up in Ms. Pelosi’s office while looking for a bathroom and that the 950,000 volt stun gun he was carrying that day did not work.

Prosecutors argued during the trial that Mr. Barnett, 63, arrived at the Capitol “prepared for violence” and intended to prevent Mr. Trump from leaving office after losing the 2020 election.

In court documents filed ahead of the sentencing hearing, prosecutors accused Mr Barnett of seeking to cash in on his case by selling autographed photos of himself leaning back with his foot on a desk in the Ms. Pelosi’s office and considering seeking copyright protection for an obscene note. he left Ms. Pelosi that day, reading in part, “Hey Nancy, Bigo was there.”

On Wednesday, prosecutors sought to point to the lasting scars inflicted by the rioters. They quoted Emily Berret, a member of Ms. Pelosi’s staff, who recalled that of eight colleagues who were trapped in the president’s office when the mob first overwhelmed the Capitol, six left public office soon after. .

Prosecutors also accused Mr Barnett of repeatedly lying during his trial, adding that he showed “a brazen disrespect for every form of authority he encountered”.

“Barnett recognizes no authority other than himself and is willing to do ‘whatever it takes’ to get what he wants,” prosecutors wrote, “even if it means harming others. , stealing or breaking the law”.

Just before handing down the sentence, Judge Christopher Cooper said he was appalled at the way Mr Barnett had sought to cash in on his notoriety.

“You are 63 years old; you are too old for this nonsense,” he said. “But for better or for worse, you’ve become one of the faces of January 6, and I think you’re enjoying it.”

Mr Barnett was among the first defendants arrested in connection with the January 6 assault and quickly became one of the best-known rioters, with figures like Jacob Chansley, the so-called QAnon Shaman, taking storming the building in a horned helmet. and was subsequently sentenced to 41 months in prison.

Mr. Barnett has also frequently and sharply criticized the Justice Department for overstepping its efforts to investigate the Capitol attack. He also accused the officers who defended lawmakers that day of inciting the assault on the building using what he described as excessive force.

His lawyers, Jonathan Gross and Bradford Geyer, had asked Judge Cooper to sentence Mr Barnett to just one year in prison and to blame him for the nearly four months spent behind bars before his trial. Lawyers said in court papers that Mr Barnett still believed police used a ‘disproportionate response’ in the attack.

“Mr. Barnett is outspoken about his political views and has attended dozens of rallies in his life, but he has always been peaceful, never violent,” the lawyers wrote.

More than 480 people have been convicted so far in connection with the Capitol attack, and about 275 are serving at least one prison sentence, according to Justice Department officials. Sentences have varied from a maximum of 14 years to just a few days behind bars.


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