US rioter who set foot on Nancy Pelosi’s desk gets 4.5 years in prison
An Arkansas man pictured with his feet on a desk in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office after joining the mob that stormed the US Capitol in 2021 was sentenced to four and a half years in prison on Wednesday.
Richard Barnett, 63, was leaning against a chair, his boots wedged on a desk in the Democratic politician’s office when he was photographed by an AFP photographer.
The photo has become one of the iconic images of the January 6, 2021 uprising.
Barnett had joined supporters of then-President Donald Trump who stormed Congress to shut down the legislature as it convened to certify Democrat Joe Biden as the next US president.
A Washington jury convicted Barnett in January of eight counts, including obstructing congressional certification of the election, unlawfully entering the Capitol and disorderly conduct with a dangerous weapon – an electric stun device disguised as a cane.
Prosecutors had asked Judge Christopher Cooper for a seven-year prison sentence.
In their sentencing note, prosecutors said Barnett showed no remorse and “sought to profit from his notoriety and criminal conduct” by selling “autographed photos of himself in the president’s office.”
Barnett’s defense attorney had asked the judge to impose a 12-month sentence.
Barnett, described in court filings as a proponent of the QAnon conspiracy theory alleging a global liberal plot to kidnap children, had defended his actions as an exercise of his constitutional right to protest.
But while he was in Pelosi’s office, he wrote her a rude message.
“I left a note for her on her desk that said, ‘Nancy, Bigo was there, bitch,'” he told reporters, using his nickname.
More than 1,000 people have been arrested for taking part in what prosecutors have called an insurgency to keep Trump in the White House after his election defeat.
Most are charged with illegally entering the Capitol or causing property damage, but some 350 have been charged with assaulting law enforcement officers or resisting their arrest and over 50 serious conspiracy crimes.
Oath Keepers founder to be sentenced
Stewart Rhodes, the founder of the far-right Oath Keepers militia, was found guilty of the rarely used seditious conspiracy charge in November and is due to be sentenced on Thursday.
Prosecutors have requested a 25-year sentence for Rhodes, 57, a former Yale-educated soldier.
During a nearly two-week trial in Washington, prosecutors said Rhodes and other members of the Oath Keepers “concocted a plan of armed rebellion…plotting to oppose by force the government of UNITED STATES”.
The Oath Keepers have been accused of storing weapons at a hotel near Washington and joining the mob that stormed the Capitol in an effort to block congressional certification of Biden’s election victory.
Prosecutors showed the jury text messages between Rhodes and his supporters that called for action if Trump himself did not act.
Rhodes did not personally enter the Capitol but led his followers like a general on the battlefield, prosecutors said.
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