Jan. 6 Defendant: Having Trial in Dem-Dominated DC Is 'Not a Jury of My Peers'
Richard “Bigo” Barnett — an Arkansas man photographed in then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office on Jan. 6, 2021 — was convicted Monday in Washington, D.C., on eight counts related to the U.S. Capitol incursion.
A reporter asked Barnett afterwards if he felt he received a fair trial.
“Absolutely not,” the 62-year-old answered.
“I think the venue should have been changed,” Barnett argued. “This is not a jury of my peers. I do not agree with the decision, but I do appreciate the process. We are surely gonna appeal.”
Richard Barnett says he was “absolutely not” given a fair trial.
“This is not a jury of my peers. I do not agree with the decision but I do appreciate the process. We are surely gonna appeal.” pic.twitter.com/OCFW0UOgPs
— Logan Schiciano (@LoganSchiciano) January 23, 2023
Barnett’s attorney, Joseph McBride, further elaborated telling reporters his client was “not surrounded by a jury of his peers, a jury of people from Arkansas, a place where he came from, or a jury that has a political composition of anything that’s like the rest of the United States.”
“Washington, D.C., is something like 95, 96 percent [Joe] Biden voters. So that we believe that plays a crucial role in the political factors that are ever-present in these cases,” he added.
The District voted 93 percent for Biden and just over 5 percent for Trump in 2020.
By comparison, even in liberal bastions like California, Washington state, Massachusetts, and Maryland, Biden only carried between approximately 58 and 65 percent of the vote.
How can’t any J6er get a fair trial in a permanent Democrat controlled city where 92% voted for Joe Biden? Inexplicable why home state change of venue requests are not allowed. DC is not America. https://t.co/pHJxapJSyM
— Miranda Devine (@mirandadevine) January 23, 2023
Barnett became a symbol of the Capitol incursion when a picture of him with his foot on the desk of a staff member of Pelosi went viral. Some news outlets originally reported it was Pelosi’s desk, but her daughter, Christine Pelosi, corrected the error.
So many people remember this iconic image from Jan. 6th two years ago. Richard Barnett, the guy seen here, was just convicted on all 8 insurrection charges. He faces up to 20 years in prison. pic.twitter.com/YmMhaOLC3F
— Deborah Roberts (@DebRobertsABC) January 23, 2023
The eight-count indictment included obstructing an official proceeding, trespassing in a restricted space, carrying a dangerous weapon, engaging in disorderly or disruptive conduct, parading in the Capitol building, unauthorized entering into certain rooms in the Capitol building, and theft of government property.
Barnett refused a plea deal in April. McBride said at the time that his client “wasn’t violent that day by any stretch of the imagination,” according to WREG-TV.
The Washington Post reported that Barnett told jurors “that he kicked back at the desk and plopped a foot up after two news photographers asked him to ‘sit down and act natural.'”
The item the Arkansas man was convicted of stealing was an empty envelope. He told jurors he took it because he cut himself earlier that day, so he didn’t want to leave his DNA.
Barnett’s lawyers argued that their client did not steal the envelope because he left 25 cents for it.
“After exiting the Capitol, Barnett waved the stolen envelope in front of video cameras and boasted that he had left a note on the desk for Pelosi, reading, ‘Nancy, Bigo was here, you b****.’ Shouting hoarsely, he added, ‘I put a quarter on the desk’ for the envelope ‘even though she ain’t f***ing worth it,'” according to the Post.
The man photographed inside Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s office during protests in D.C. is from Northwest #Arkansas.
The Benton County Republicans, identified the man as Richard Barnett w/@KNWAFOX24. He showed the envelope he took from her office. (Photos via @AllMattNYT/ Getty) #ARnews pic.twitter.com/0qNG8y2OHT
— Alexis Wainwright (@AWainwrightTV) January 6, 2021
Barnett apologized on the witness stand for leaving the crude note for Pelosi.
“I’m a Christian,” he told jurors. “It just wasn’t good. It wasn’t who I am.”
The weapon he had was an extendable “Hike ‘n Strike” walking stick with a stun device in it, which he did not use on Jan. 6. Barnett’s attorneys said it was inoperable.
It had no batteries at the time, American Greatness reported.
Barnett is a retired firefighter with no prior criminal record.
In April 2021, Barnett was released to pre-trial home confinement with GPS monitoring after being detained for nearly four months in the Washington, D.C. prison where other Jan. 6 defendants are being held.
CNN reported that federal prosecutors sought to revoke Barnett’s home confinement Monday as he awaits his May sentencing hearing, but the judge rejected their request.
According to the Post, Barnett faces up to 20 years in prison, but based on previous Jan. 6 prosecutions the court will likely impose a significantly shorter term.
As of Jan. 2, 357 of the 932 charged with Capitol incursion-related offenses had been sentenced, while 165 await sentencing.
Eight have received five or more years in prison; 33, two-five years in prison; 161 less than a year in prison; 66 home detention, and 88 probation.
Republican lawmakers have pointed out the treatment of Jan. 6 defendants, on the whole, has been much harsher than those who engaged in the so-called social justice riots of the summer of 2020.
Many of the latter had their charges dropped altogether.