Richard "Bigo" Barnett, a 63-year-old retired firefighter and bull rider from Arkansas who was photographed on January 6, 2021, in then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office with his foot propped on her desk, was sentenced on Wednesday to four and a half years in prison.
Barnett was convicted on eight counts, including civil disorder, obstruction of an official proceeding, and theft of government property. U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia Judge Christopher Cooper sentenced Barnett.
Prosecutors alleged that Barnett yelled at authorities, forcefully entered the Capitol building, stole an envelope, and wrote, "Hey Nancy, Bigo was here you bitch."
According to the prosecution, after Barnett was removed from the Capitol, he "bragged" about entering Pelosi's office and "immediately began celebrating his conquests."
Barnett, who admitted to entering the Capitol building with a stun gun and an American flag, testified in his own defense, apologizing for his conduct but insisting that his actions were not criminal or "threatening."
"This was an enigma in my life," he said. "Jan. 6 was a traumatic day for everyone. … I admit I was angry and I apologize for that."
Prosecutors sought a sentence of more than seven years in prison, contending that he played a "very important role" in delaying the certification of the 2020 presidential election and "demonstrated his lack of remorse and refusal to take responsibility for his actions."
Barnett's defense attorney, Jonathan Gross, stated, "Mr. Barnett is here because of the picture."
"The government was mad because Richard Barnett was sitting at a desk," he added.
In pretrial filings, his defense attorneys wrote, "The worst accusations against Mr. Barnett amounted to 20 minutes of nonviolence in the Capitol, a stolen envelope, and literally seconds of verbal altercation with a police officer."
Barnett's attorney noted that he "never called for violence" or an "insurrection."
"He was mad, but even in his anger his rhetoric was restrained and he never called for actual violence, not on January 6 and not for any time in the future," his attorneys added.
Judge Cooper agreed with the prosecution that Barnett failed to show remorse and argued that his conduct was "not a spur-of-the-moment reaction."
"While you may regret having gone there that day, you have so far not shown any acceptance of responsibility," Cooper said. "You're too old for this nonsense."
Barnett stated that he plans to appeal his convictions.
"They want me to be remorseful for things I did not do," Barnett stated.
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