An Arkansas man who entered the US Capitol with rioters on Jan. 6, 2021, and was photographed lounging at a desk in then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office suite was convicted Monday of eight federal crimes related to the incursion.
Richard “Bigo” Barnett, now 62, who left a crude written message for Pelosi before departing the office suite with a purloined envelope bearing the California Democrat’s digital signature, sat impassively as a jury in US District Court in Washington delivered its decisions.
After nine days of testimony and legal arguments in the trial, the panel began deliberating Monday morning and reached guilty verdicts on all eight counts against Barnett, including four felonies, in less than two hours.
The most serious charge he faced, obstructing an official government proceeding, carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. But advisory sentencing guidelines used by the court are likely to recommend a much shorter term in his case.
Although a prosecutor argued that Barnett should be jailed pending his sentencing, scheduled for May 3, Judge Christopher R. Cooper allowed him to remain on home detention in his small hometown in the Ozarks.
Barnett, an ardent supporter of former president Donald Trump, was carrying a walking stick equipped with a high-voltage stun device when he entered the Capitol. Congress was meeting that day to confirm President Biden’s victory in the November election, despite Trump’s debunked claims that he had been denied re-election because of massive voter fraud.
Besides obstructing an official proceeding, Barnett was convicted of two felonies related to carrying a dangerous weapon in the Capitol and a felony charge of civil disorder. The four misdemeanors he was convicted of including theft of government property, meaning the envelope.