Propping feet on Pelosi desk was mistake, man testifies

WASHINGTON (AP) — An Arkansas man testified Thursday that he was “going with the movement” when he propped up his toes on a desk in then-Home Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s workplace, posing for images that made him one of the vital memorable figures from the U.S. Capitol riot two years in the past.

On the witness stand at his trial on riot-related expenses, Richard “Bigo” Barnett stated he was searching for a rest room contained in the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, when he unwittingly entered Pelosi’s workplace and encountered two information photographers. He stated one of many photographers advised him to “act pure,” so he lounged again in a chair and flung his legs onto the desk.

“Did it daybreak on you that what you had been doing might trigger some bother?” protection legal professional Joseph McBride requested Barnett.

“I used to be simply within the second,” Barnett replied. “I am simply form of going with the movement at this level.”

Prosecutor Michael Gordon confirmed a web based put up during which Barnett declared anybody who “does help the Structure” to be his enemy. Requested how properly he knew the doc himself, Barnett ultimately acknowledged that he knew the First and Second Amendments properly, however had little information of others.

Barnett, a retired firefighter from Gravette, Arkansas, is one in all greater than 900 individuals charged with federal crimes for his or her conduct on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Practically 500 of them have pleaded responsible. Barnett is one in all a number of dozen Capitol riot defendants whose case has gone to trial.

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Barnett’s trial performed out in the identical courthouse as two different high-profile trials stemming from the riot. A jury started deliberating within the seditious conspiracy case in opposition to a second group of members of the far-right Oath Keepers. In the meantime, a documentary filmmaker testified within the seditious conspiracy case in opposition to former Proud Boys chairman Enrique Tarrio and 4 associates.

In Barnett’s case, prosecutors stated the 62-year-old had a stun gun tucked into his pants when he stormed the Capitol, invaded Pelosi’s workplace and posed for a photograph that grew to become one of many assault’s best-known photographs. He additionally took a chunk of her mail and left behind a be aware that stated, “Nancy, Bigo was right here,” prosecutors stated. Barnett punctuated the message with a sexist expletive.

Earlier than leaving Capitol grounds, Barnett used a bullhorn to present a speech to the gang, shouting, “We took again our home, and I took Nancy Pelosi’s workplace!” in accordance with prosecutors.

Barnett, testifying close to the tip of his trial, stated he regrets coming to Washington for the “Cease the Steal” rally the place then-President Donald Trump addressed a crowd of supporters.

“Two years of misplaced life. Distress for my household,” he stated.

He additionally expressed remorse for utilizing vulgar language in his be aware to Pelosi.

“I most likely should not have put my toes on the desk,” Barnett stated.

Requested by Gordon whether or not he regretted coming into the Capitol, Barnett insisted he was swept together with the gang.

“I don’t remorse getting pushed in,” he stated.

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A grand jury indicted Barnett on eight expenses, together with felony counts of civil dysfunction and obstruction of an official continuing. He additionally faces a cost of coming into and remaining in restricted constructing or grounds with a lethal or harmful weapon — the stun gun with spikes hid inside a collapsible strolling stick.

In opening statements for the trial, a prosecutor stated Tuesday that Barnett deliberate the journey for weeks and got here ready for violence.

“The defendant violated that area,” prosecutor Alison Prout stated.

McBride advised jurors on Wednesday that Barnett was only a “loopy man from Arkansas” who did not damage anyone on Jan. 6 and could not have harmed anyone with the stun gun system as a result of it was damaged that day.

“We’re not asking you to approve of his actions,” McBride stated, calling it “probably the most well-known trespass case of all time.”

Barnett stated the gang of Trump supporters leaving the rally was in a jovial temper as they approached the Capitol. He stated he grew to become indignant after he heard a loud bang and noticed what seemed to be law enforcement officials firing tear fuel on the crowd.

“It flipped my world the other way up,” Barnett stated, calling it his first expertise with police brutality after years of being a firefighter. “I went in full disaster mode.”

Barnett stated movies present that the gang pushed him into the Capitol because the approached an entrance, inflicting him to briefly fall to his knees as he crossed the brink.

“We’ve got no alternative!” he shouted repeatedly on the video as he entered the Capitol.

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Barnett stated he did not understand he had wandered into Pelosi’s workplace till one of many photographers requested him if he knew the place he was and he noticed empty envelopes with Pelosi’s title on them,

After police ordered him and others to go away Pelosi’s workplace, Barnett realized he had left his American flag behind. Physique digicam video captured Barnett shouting at a police officer within the Rotunda for assist in retrieving the flag.

Prosecutors stated Barnett had a historical past of arming himself at political demonstrations earlier than the Jan. 6 assault. In July 2020, they stated, a 911 caller reported {that a} man matching Barnett’s description had pointed a rifle at her throughout a “Again the Blue” rally.

“Regulation enforcement finally closed the investigation as unfounded as a result of unresolved obvious discrepancies within the proof,” prosecutors wrote.

In November 2020, police had been referred to as to a “Save the Youngsters” rally when a caller stated Barnett was carrying a gun on the protest and performing suspiciously.