A man from Arkansas who areduring the US was convicted Monday of taking part in a gang attack on the building two years ago.
A jury unanimously convicted Richard “Bigo” Barnett on all eight counts of his indictment, including charges of civil disorder and obstruction of official proceedings.
The photo of Barnett lounging at a desk in Pelosi’s office made him one of the most memorable figures of the riot on January 6, 2021, the day Congress convened a joint session to ratify President Joe Biden’s election victory .
He will be sentenced in May. Prosecutors tried to jail Barnett while he awaits sentencing, but the judge denied that request, leaving Barnett free under certain conditions.
Barnett, 62, testified last Thursday that he was looking for a bathroom in the Capitol when he unknowingly entered Pelosi’s office and came across two news photographers. He said one of the photographers told him to “go natural,” so he leaned back in a chair and threw his legs on the desk.
“Has it occurred to you that what you were doing could cause problems?” lawyer Joseph McBride asked Barnett.
“I was just in the moment,” Barnett replied. “I’m just going with the flow right now.”
Prosecutors said Barnett stuffed a stun gun in his pants when he stormed the Capitol and raided Pelosi’s office. He picked up a piece of her mail and left a note that read, “Nancy, Bigo was here,” interrupting the message with a sexist swear word.
Before leaving the Capitol grounds, Barnett used a megaphone to deliver a speech to the crowd, shouting, “We took our house back and I took Nancy Pelosi’s office!” prosecutors said.
Videos support Barnett’s testimony that a mob pushed him into the Capitol as he approached an entrance, causing him to briefly drop to his knees as he crossed the threshold.
“We have no choice!” he cried repeatedly as he entered the Capitol.
After police ordered him and others to leave Pelosi’s office, Barnett realized he had left his American flag behind. Body camera video captured Barnett yelling at a police officer in the Rotunda for help retrieving the flag.
More than 940 people have been charged with federal crimes related to the January 6 attack. Nearly 500 of them have confessed. Barnett is one of dozens of defendants from the Capitol riot whose case has gone to trial.
A grand jury indicted Barnett on eight charges, including felonies of civil disorder and obstruction of official proceedings. He is also charged with entering and residing in a restricted building or area with a deadly or dangerous weapon – a stun gun with spikes concealed in a folding cane.
Barnett, 62, is a retired firefighter from Gravette, Arkansas. He said he regretted coming to Washington for the “Stop the Steal” rally, where then-President Donald Trump addressed a crowd of supporters.
“Two years of life lost. Misery for my family,” he said.
A prosecutor told jurors during the opening statements of the trial that Barnett planned the trip for weeks and prepared for violence.
McBride told jurors that Barnett was just a “crazy guy from Arkansas” who didn’t hurt anyone on January 6 and couldn’t harm anyone with the stun gun because it was broken that day. McBride sarcastically called it “the most famous foul of all time.”
Prosecutors said Barnett had a history of arming at political demonstrations. In July 2020, they said, a 911 caller reported that a man matching Barnett’s description had pointed a shotgun at her during a “Back the Blue” rally.
“Law enforcement officials ultimately closed the investigation as groundless due to unresolved apparent discrepancies in the evidence,” the prosecutors wrote.
In November 2020, police were called to a “Save the Children” rally when a caller said Barnett was carrying a gun at the protest and was acting suspiciously.