Chief federal judge in DC tears into MAGA rioter photographed putting his feet on Speaker Pelosi’s desk, calling his actions ‘brazen’ and ‘entitled’ as she orders him to remain in jail ahead of trial
- Federal judge in Washington Thursday blocked the release of Richard Barnett
- US District Chief Judge Beryl Howell revered the decision of another judge to release Barnett to his home in Gravette, Arkansas, until his trial
- Barnett was among supporters of President Donald Trump who stormed the US Capitol on January 6
- He is charged with unlawfully entering a restricted area with a lethal weapon (a stun gun), disorderly conduct, and theft of public property
- The 60-year-old was photographed sitting at a desk in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office during the riot
- Howell on Thursday slammed his actions, branding them ‘brazen’ and ‘entitled’
Richard Barnett, 60, of Gravette, Arkansas will remain in custody while he awaits trial
US District Chief Judge Beryl Howell, of DC publicly spoke out against the violent insurrection for the first time during an hour-long court hearing for suspect Richard Barnett on Thursday.
Barnett, 60, is charged with unlawfully entering a restricted area with a lethal weapon – a stun gun – as well as disorderly conduct and theft of public property. He faces up to 11 years in prison if convicted.
Prior to the hearing, a magistrate judge in Arkansas had approved Barnett’s release from custody, ruling that he could stay with his partner while he awaits trial.
Howell, however, reversed that decision Thursday on grounds that Barnett had shown a ‘total disregard’ for the law and the US Constitution, The Washington Post reported.
Barnett was photographed during the Capitol riot inside Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office with his feet on her desk. He smiled and laughed as he lounged in her chair and he allegedly left a threatening note on her desk
US District Chief Judge Beryl Howell, of DC, called his actions ‘brazen’ and ‘entitled’
She said Barnett had traveled to DC ‘prepared with a weapon and cloaked with entitlement’ and ‘seemed happy to be one of the stars of this revolt.’
Judge Howell publicly spoke out against the violent insurrection for the first time on Thursday
She also highlighted the fact that Barnett had boasted to the media following the siege that he ‘wrote [Pelosi] a nasty note, put my feet up on her desk and scratched my balls’.
‘Wow,’ the judge said as she read the message. ‘Brazen, entitled, dangerous.’
She also went on to read his charges which she said were ‘too benign-sounding to fairly describe what happened.’
‘We’re still living here in D.C. with the consequences of the violence in which this defendant is alleged to have participated,’ Howell said, adding that she could see armed National Guard troops patrolling from her window.
Barnett spoke briefly during the hearing to say he had ‘some very honest and simple explanations’ and ‘I am a good man.’
He was ordered to remain in custody and is due back in court on February 2.
Barnett surrendered himself voluntarily on January 8 to FBI agents at the Benton County Sheriff’s Office in Bentonville, Arkansas, and has remained in the Washington County jail since then.
Five people died because of the protest and violence at the Capitol riots on January 6, including a Capitol police officer
Authorities said in court documents that they were able to identify Barnett in part through photographs taken by news media when he was inside the building.
He posed for a photo reclining in the House Speaker’s chair before he later returned to the crowd of supporters outside and flashed a hand-written envelope he had looted.
Authorities also used video surveillance from inside the Capitol and a video interview Barnett gave to a New York Times reporter in which he said, ‘I didn’t steal (an envelope). … I put a quarter on her desk, even though she ain’t (expletive) worth it.’
Barnett is from Gravette in northwest Arkansas. He has identified himself on social media as a Trump supporter, a gun rights advocate, and white nationalist.