Joe Biden’s Justice Department wants to keep Richard Barnett in jail—indefinitely.
The Arkansas man, photographed showboating inside House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office on January 6, has been behind bars for more than three months. Barnett occupied Pelosi’s office for six whole minutes; he absconded with a piece of mail and left her a note that read “Nancy, Bigo was here, you Bitch.”
The desk belonged to a Pelosi aide, not the speaker herself. Several reporters and photographers who also happened to be in Pelosi’s office at the very same time prompted Barnett to sit at the desk and “act natural” as they took a series of photos.
Death threats against Barnett’s family immediately started when a press photograph of Barnett went viral that afternoon; Pelosi’s daughter tweeted the picture right after it was taken. Upon his return home, Barnett met with FBI investigators without an attorney present, allowed for a search of his home, and turned himself in.
He was taken into custody on January 8, 2021 and charged with trespassing, disorderly conduct, and possession of a “deadly or dangerous weapon,” to wit, a walking stick that also can be used as a stun gun. He never used it.
A local judge authorized Barnett’s conditional release a week later but federal prosecutors, as they’ve done in many cases, immediately appealed to the chief judge of the D.C. district court, which is handling every Capitol breach case, to deny Barnett’s release.
Judge Beryl Howell sided with the Justice Department and ordered Barnett, a retired firefighter with no criminal record, transported to Washington, D.C. where he remains incarcerated awaiting trial next month. (He is one of more than three dozen Capitol protesters denied bail and currently held in solitary confinement conditions at the D.C. Correctional Treatment Facility. Barnett reportedly has been attacked by prison guards; one allegedly told the inmate that he “hate[s] all white people.”)
By Julie Kelly