An image of Richard Barnett reclining against the legislator’s desk has become emblematic of the 2021 US Capitol attack.
Richard Barnett has been found guilty on all counts related to his participation in the attack on the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021, when he was photographed with his foot propped up on the desk of top Democrat Nancy Pelosi.
Jury deliberations on Monday lasted for just two hours before the guilty verdict was returned on all eight charges. They included the felony charges of civil disorder and obstruction of an official proceeding. Barnett, an Arkansas resident, is set to be sentenced in a Washington, DC courtroom on May 3.
The image of Barnett with his foot on then-House Speaker Pelosi’s desk became emblematic of the US Capitol attack, which was led by supporters of then-President Donald Trump who sought to overturn his election loss.
Outside of the courthouse on Monday, Barnett vowed to appeal the case, calling it an “injustice”.
US Department of Justice prosecutor Alison Prout, meanwhile, focused on the jury’s conclusion that Barnett had taken a weapon into Pelosi’s office.
“We can only imagine what would have happened if [Pelosi] had been there at the time,” Prout said.
US District Judge Christopher Cooper agreed to let Barnett remain free on certain conditions until his sentencing, despite a request from prosecutors that he be jailed until then.
Barnett, who goes by the nickname “Bigo”, is among the more than 940 people charged with federal crimes related to the deadly riot. Nearly 500 have pled guilty, while dozens of others have let their cases go to trial.
A former firefighter, Barnett testified last Thursday that he was looking for a toilet inside the US Capitol when he unwittingly entered Pelosi’s office and encountered two news photographers.
He said one of the photographers told him to “act natural”, so he leaned back in a chair and put his legs onto the desk.
“I was just in the moment,” Barnett said during questioning. “I’m just kind of going with the flow at this point.”
Among the charges, Barnett was convicted of entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds with a deadly or dangerous weapon — what prosecutors described as a stun gun with spikes concealed within a collapsible walking stick.
Before leaving Pelosi’s office, Barnett took a piece of her mail, resulting in a theft charge. He also left behind a note that said, “Nancy, Bigo was here”, along with a sexist expletive.
Before leaving the US Capitol grounds, prosecutors said Barnett used a bullhorn to deliver a speech to the crowd, shouting: “We took back our house, and I took Nancy Pelosi’s office!”
Prosecutors also noted that police had twice been called on Barnett in 2020 for carrying a gun at political rallies.
Defence attorney Joseph McBride, meanwhile, portrayed Barnett as just a “crazy guy from Arkansas” who had not hurt anybody during the January 6 riot.
He sarcastically dismissed the proceedings as “the most famous trespass case of all time”.
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