A Capitol Hill rioter whose feet were photographed on Nancy Pelosi’s desk was sentenced to four and a half years in prison.
Richard “Bigo Barnett” became one of faces of the Riot on 6th January 2021.
Barnett was found guilty on eight counts at trial, including civil disorder and obstruction. The session of Congress that certified Joe Biden as the winner of the 2020 presidential elections over Mr Trump.
The protesters, supporters of Donald Trump at the time, forced Ms Pelosi to leave the chamber.
Barnett was found to have brought a stungun with spikes, hidden inside a collapsible stick, into the Capitol.
The note he left said “Nancy, Bigo, was here”. It ended with a sexist exclamation.
Barnett, before leaving Capitol grounds, used a loudspeaker to shout to the crowd: “We took our house back, and I stole Nancy Pelosi’s office!” According to prosecutors, Barnett used a bullhorn before leaving Capitol grounds. He shouted – “We took back our house, and I took Nancy Pelosi’s office!”
The prosecution also claimed that Barnett had posted “falsehoods,” on social media, about the events and has downplayed his involvement.
The prosecutor Alison Prout stated that “the defendant still believes that he has the right to say or do anything he likes and if anyone else feels threatened, then it’s their issue.”
Barnett testified in court that he had been swept up with the crowd and was searching for a restroom when he accidentally entered Ms Pelosi’s office, where he encountered two journalists.
He claimed to be “going with it” and struck a posing after the photographers instructed him to “act naturally”.
Barnett said that joining the riots was “an enigma” in his life that he regrets, but that prosecutors wanted him “remorseful of things I didn’t do”.
He said that “January 6 was an extremely traumatic day not only for law enforcement, but also for the general public.”
The 63 year old from Gravette in Arkansas has promised to appeal his conviction.
Jonathan Gross, the defence lawyer, said Barnett had not injured anyone or damaged property and that he was only being singled out for his fame.
He said that Mr Barnett shouldn’t be punished, because the government views him as a symbol.
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However, the judge said that he didn’t believe Barnett had played such a passive part.
In sentencing retired firefighter Barnett on Wednesday, US district judge Christopher Cooper noted that Barnett appeared to sometimes enjoy the notoriety.
He said: “All those who follow Bigo need to understand that the actions of the 6th January cannot be repeated again without serious consequences.”
The Capitol Riot has resulted in the federal prosecution of more than 1,000 individuals.
Over 500 have been sentenced and over half of those have prison sentences ranging from one week to more than 14 years.