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Inside the Washington jail where accused Capitol rioters are treated as ‘domestic terrorists’

The Washington D.C. Jail – where dozens of Capitol rioters are housed before their trials – is like ‘Guantanamo Bay’, a lawyer representing one of the protestors told DailyMail.com. 

The suspects are held in solitary confinement in cells the ‘size of a walk-in closets’ for up 24 hours a day and treated like ‘domestic terrorists’ by jail guards after several law enforcement officers were injured and killed during the January 6 violence at the Capitol, lawyer Joseph McBride said. 

McBride, who represents Richard ‘Bigo’ Barnett, 60, of Arkansas – the man known for putting his feet up on Speaker Nancy Pelosi‘s desk – claimed that the guards are ‘roughing up’ the siege suspects to show solidarity with law enforcement who protected the Capitol.

‘The DC Central Detention Facility has become Guantanamo Bay for American Citizens,’ McBride told DailyMail.com. 

‘In the eyes of the Federal Government, the 2021 Trump supporter is the 2001 religious Muslim. This is demonstrated by the fact that Trump Supporters, type casted as extremists, are being illegally detained pretrial by the United States Government.’

Nearly all of the Capitol protest suspects have spent time in the Washington D.C. Jail, where they await their trials. 

Richard ‘Bigo’ Barnett in Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office during the January 6 storming of the Capitol

Richard 'Bigo' Barnett, picture in in Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office during the January 6 storming of the Capitol, told DailyMail.com that '(The jail guards) do their best to get guys to break us down mentally'

Richard ‘Bigo’ Barnett, picture in in Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office during the January 6 storming of the Capitol, told DailyMail.com that ‘(The jail guards) do their best to get guys to break us down mentally’

Capitol riot suspects (not picture) and their lawyers say they've faced harsh, pre-trial conditions in the Washington D.C. jail

Capitol riot suspects (not picture) and their lawyers say they’ve faced harsh, pre-trial conditions in the Washington D.C. jail

Washington D.C. Jail

Outside of Washington D.C. Jail

The Department of Corrections Central Detention Facility is pictured in Washington D.C.

Smoke fills the walkway outside the Senate Chamber as rioters are confronted by U.S. Capitol Police officers inside the Capitol in Washington D.C. on January 6

Smoke fills the walkway outside the Senate Chamber as rioters are confronted by U.S. Capitol Police officers inside the Capitol in Washington D.C. on January 6

McBride said there were about 30 Capitol protest suspects in the jail in April when his client was released under house arrest – following three months at DC Central. Many of riot suspects have also been released under house arrest or moved to another jail.

The Washington D.C. Department of Corrections didn’t respond to multiple calls and emails for interview or say how many are currently being housed. 

McBride said guards told his client and other ‘1/6ers’ that ‘the world hates them,’ ‘they’ll be forgotten’ and ‘they’ll spend the rest of their lives in here,’ among other disparaging remarks. 

There’s a pending grievance against one of the guards who allegedly threatened to sexually assault Barnett’s wife. 

Another Capitol rioter, Ryan Samsel, was allegedly beaten by a guard so badly that he may lose an eye and has had his jaw wired shut, his lawyer Elisabeth Pasqualini said in media interviews. 

Samsel is accused of attacking a law enforcement officer during the insurrection.  

The Department of Corrections deny their guards’ involvement but Pasqualini is urging them to allow her client to be transferred to another jail for his own protection. 

‘Mr. Samsel’s safety and medical wellbeing remains at risk as a result of his continued incarceration,’ she said in a May 24 motion to transfer her client to another jail.

In the May 24 court document, Pasqualini stated that her client was assaulted and that they’re still waiting for medical records. 

Samsel, Barnett, and other Capitol protestors’ human rights ‘are routinely violated… absent meaningful objection from the legal community, academia, or the media,’ McBride told DailyMail.com. 

‘(The jail guards) do their best to get guys to break us down mentally,’ Barnett said in an email to DailyMail.com. ‘We did our best to help out whatever guy was suffering that day.’ 

Anyone charged in connection with the January 6 siege of the Capitol is given ‘maximum security’ designation for their protection and placed in ‘restrictive housing,’ according to court documents from several Capitol protest suspects.

Ryan Samsel, who was accused of attacking a law enforcement officer during the January 6 Capitol riot, was attacked in jail, according to court documents

Ryan Samsel, who was accused of attacking a law enforcement officer during the January 6 Capitol riot, was attacked in jail, according to court documents 

FBI wanted photo of Ryan Samsel before he was arrested

FBI wanted photo of Ryan Samsel before he was arrested

Barnett showing off the personalized envelope he took from Speaker Pelosi's office. He insisted he didn't steal it - 'I left a quarter on her desk'

 Barnett showing off the personalized envelope he took from Speaker Pelosi’s office. He insisted he didn’t steal it – ‘I left a quarter on her desk’

Attorney Joseph McBride

Richard 'Bigo' Barnett

Joseph McBride (left) represents Barnett, an accused Capitol rioter

The ‘1/6ers’ – a term coined in a four-page jailhouse letter written by Guy Reffitt referring to suspects connected to the Capitol protest on January 6 – have at most one hour a day when they’re not in solitary, Barnett said. 

And that’s if they’re lucky.

‘Obviously, if you go to the hole, you are in the box 24/7,’ said Barnett, who became a public face of the incident when he propped his feet on Pelosi’s desk in a viral photo. 

Otherwise, their days started at 3am when they were woken up and given ‘slop’ for breakfast, Barnett said. 

Lunch was 11am, and that ‘is the best meal of the day,’ he said. 

Dinner came at 6pm:  ‘It was ‘baloney and cheese 70 percent of the time. Dinner was almost always not edible,’ Barnett said. 

There wasn’t much else to do in between, he said. 

They were locked down 23 hours a day with one one of recreation time, which could be anywhere from 9am to 9pm, Barnett said. 

Barnett said that only one of the self-described ‘1/6ers’ were allowed out at a time during rec time.

During that hour, they could to use the phone, take a shower or walk around. Depending on what guard was on duty, they could visit the door of ‘one of the other guys to say hello,’ Barnett said. 

At lunch time, the pledge of allegiance and signing of the National Anthem were the only thing keeping their heads above water while they were in jail, Barnett said. 

‘While our lawyers do our bidding and the judges do their duties, we remain resolute, reciting The Pledge of Allegiance and signing The National Anthem, all in unison, loud and proud most everyday,’ Reffitt wrote in his jailhouse letter.  

That started during rec hour, Barnett told DailyMail.com. 

Someone ‘would stand in the middle of our area and recite the Pledge of Allegiance. We would join in. It boosted moral,’ Barnett said. 

‘At some point we started singing the National Anthem every night at 7pm. I would start it off because I had the loudest voice. We did it for unity, love of country, and because we are patriots.’ 

Reffitt’s full letter:  

Page 1 of 4 of Reffitt's letter

Page 1 of 4 of Reffitt’s letter

Page 2 of 4 of Reffitt's letter

Page 2 of 4 of Reffitt’s letter

Page 3 of 4 of Reffitt's letter

Page 3 of 4 of Reffitt’s letter

Page 4 of 4 of Reffitt's letter

Page 4 of 4 of Reffitt’s letter

Images, like this one, from Jan. 6 show Guy Reffitt wearing a helmet with a camera fastened to the front of it while he allegedly stormed the Capitol

Images, like this one, from Jan. 6 show Guy Reffitt wearing a helmet with a camera fastened to the front of it while he allegedly stormed the Capitol

‘The Federal Government has a long history of scapegoating entire groups of people in order to erode our constitutional rights and protections while simultaneously grabbing power,’ McBride said. 

The Washington DC Jail has a men’s wing and women’s wing. The same type of treatment was described in Lisa Eisnehart’s court documents. 

She was in solitary 23 hours – sometimes 24 hours – a day, and she was shackled and chained when she left her cell, according to court documents. 

Her lawyer filed a motion to move her out of ‘restrictive housing’ and into general population. For one day, Eisenhart was accidently moved to general population, according to court documents. 

In that one day, she noticed ‘a vast difference.’ 

‘She had an ability to exercise on a treadmill that is present in the general population area, instead of being given just five hours per week (less than one hour per day) that she had to spend alone after simply being moved to a slightly larger cell to ‘exercise,’ court documents say.

In the general population, she could shower whenever she wanted, wash clothes, heat up food, visit a library ‘with far more books,’ and begin legal research, according to court documents. 

‘She got her first good night’s sleep since arriving (into general population), as the cells in the general population area are far warmer than her previous cell (where the temperature appears to be about 55 degrees Fahrenheit). 

‘And perhaps most importantly, she was able for the first time in weeks to interact and talk with other human beings who were not assigned to monitor her movements and activities as prison guards,’ court documents say. 

After a day, she was transferred back to restrictive housing for her safety, according to court documents. 

Lisa Eisnehart, shown here on January 6 at the Capitol, described a harsh environment in the women's wing of the Washington D.C. jail and was accidentally put in general population for one day, which she said was a 'vast difference'

Lisa Eisnehart, shown here on January 6 at the Capitol, described a harsh environment in the women’s wing of the Washington D.C. jail and was accidentally put in general population for one day, which she said was a ‘vast difference’

South end hallway of the D.C. Central Detention Facility

South end hallway of the D.C. Central Detention Facility

Aaron Holmes, a Washington D.C. government candidate, leads an 'Empowerment Session' at the D.C. Central Detention Facility, where accused Capitol rioters are held

Aaron Holmes, a Washington D.C. government candidate, leads an ‘Empowerment Session’ at the D.C. Central Detention Facility, where accused Capitol rioters are held

The Capitol insurrection on January 6 burned disturbing images of people climbing on the building with Trump flags and law enforcement being trampled and beaten on many Americans.

Phrases like ‘Hang Mike Pence’ still echo today as the Republicans and Democrats battle of a 9/11-style commission to investigate the January 6 Capitol attack. 

The Senate Democrats were unable to override a Republican filibuster placed on the bill during a Friday vote of 54 to 35, with 60 votes needed.

Metropolitan Police Department Officer Michael Fanone, who suffered injuries during the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, and was seen on bodycam footage pleading, ‘I got kids’ while the mob brutalized him. 

He wrote a letter to the congressmembers describing the day he nearly lost his life. 

‘I was pulled from my fellow officers, beaten with fists, metal objects, stripped of my badge, radio and ammunition magazine, and electrocuted numerous times with a Taser,’ Fanone said.  

He and his partner arrived on scene and immediately joined the fight to protect the Capitol. Other officers were bashed with flag poles and axe handles.  

‘The fight here was nothing short of brutal,’ he said. 

He described seeing about 30 officers standing shoulder-to-shoulder to hold back the ‘onslaught of violent attackers.’

‘Many of these officers were injured, bleeding and fatigued, but they contained to fight,’ he said, and his commander yelled, ‘Hold the line.’

He described that as ‘the most inspirational moment of my entire life,’ but since then he has struggled with the ‘psychological trauma.’

Fanone’s full letter: 

Barnett, who wasn't wearing this or carrying the weapon on January 6, said he was there to 'Stop the steal' and exercising his First Amendment

Barnett, who wasn’t wearing this or carrying the weapon on January 6, said he was there to ‘Stop the steal’ and exercising his First Amendment

The violence Fanone and others have described – and what many people saw with their own two eyes on news stations – led to ‘1/6ers’ being described a domestic terrorists. 

That question about whether it’s fair to call the ‘1/6ers’ domestic terrorists was posed to McBride. 

He said ‘a vast majority showed up because they thought they were exercising their 1st Amendment and Patriot Duty to stop what they felt was a steal of the election,’ McBride said.  

Like Barnett, he said, most aren’t violent, and many are ‘charged with glorified trespassing.’

But some suspects appear to have gone to the Capitol to do harm, as evidenced by Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes’ comments on November 9 – after the election was called for Biden. 

‘We’re going to defend the president, the duly elected president. Because if you don’t, guys, you’re going to be in a bloody, bloody civil war and a bloody … insurrection, or you can call it a war or fight. I’m willing to sacrifice myself for that. Let the fight start there,’ he said. 

So far, 16 Oath Keepers have been charged. 

They’re among the 425 plus people connected to the storming of the Capitol who have been arrested. Of the 425, about 90 are charged with committing violent acts.  

Barnett, an Arkansas man who hasn’t been connected to the Oath Keepers, was seen in pictures with a what looks like a gun on his left hip – McBride said it was a stun gun in court documents – and charged with: 

  • obstruction of an official proceeding
  • aiding and abetting
  • entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds with a deadly or dangerous weapon
  • disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds with a deadly or dangerous weapon
  • entering and remaining in certain rooms in the Capitol Building
  • disorderly conduct in a Capitol Building; 
  • parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol Building
  • theft of government property  

In court documents that McBride filed, he said even Elizabeth Ann Duke, a member of the radical and ‘extremely violent’ M19 terrorist group that bombed the Capitol’s Senate Chamber on November 7, 1983, was released on bail. 

She was charged with multiple crimes related to domestic terrorism, including the possession of stolen explosives, possession of instruments of forgery, and falsified identification documents.

McBride said they’re being held in a ‘supermax’ facility before any of them are convicted. 

The only time he’s seen that is for international terrorists at Guantanamo Bay.  

‘We want Trump to declare an insurrection and call us up as the militia’: Oath Keepers founder rallied Capitol rioters on a conference call on November 9 – just six days after the election, new indictment reveals 

The founder of far-right militia Oath Keepers started rallying men who eventually stormed the Capitol January 6 as far back as November 9, after Biden won the election, telling them on a conference call: ‘We want Trump to declare an insurrection and call us up as the militia. Let the fight start there.’

The new details were included in an indictment against four rioters – Joseph Hackett, 50, Jason Dolan, 40, William Isaacs, 21, and another, unnamed defendant, filed on Monday.

They are among 16 Oath Keeper members who have been charged so far. The others are Thomas Caldwell, 65, Donovan Crowl, 50, Jessica Watkins, 38, Sandra Parker, 60, Bennie Parker, 70, Graydon Young, 54, Laura Steele, 52, Kelly Meggs, 52, Connie Meggs, 59, Kenneth Harrelson, 40, Roberto Minuta, 36, Joshua James, 33, Joseph Hackett, 50.

Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes has not been charged, but he was mentioned repeatedly in the newly unsealed indictment as ‘Person One’. It’s unclear why he has not been arrested.

According to prosecutors, on November 9 – after the election was called for Biden -Rhodes told the men in an online GoToMeeting conference call: ‘We’re going to defend the president, the duly elected president. Because if you don’t, guys, you’re going to be in a bloody, bloody civil war and a bloody…insurrection, or you can call it a war or fight.

‘I’m willing to sacrifice myself for that. Let the fight start there. That will give President Trump what he needs, frankly.

‘If things go kinetic, good. If they throw bombs at us and shoot us, great, because that brings the president his reason and rationale for dropping the Insurrection Act.”

‘I do want some Oath Keepers to stay on the outside, and to stay fully armed and prepared to go in armed, if they have to…So our posture’s gonna be that we’re posted outside of DC, um, awaiting the President’s orders. . . . We hope he will give us the orders.

‘We want him to declare an insurrection, and to call us up as the militia.’

By then, claims from Trump’s camp about voter fraud were widespread and millions thought he’d been robbed of victory.

Over the coming months, members of the group allegedly plotted the attack.

Watkins is said to have recruited people in Ohio, telling them he was organizing a week-long training camp and saying: ‘I need you fighting fit by inauguration.’

On November 17, when asked what his prediction was for the coming year, Watkins allegedly told a recruit: ‘I can’t predict. I don’t underestimate the resolve of the Deep State.

‘Biden may still yet be our President. If he is, our way of life as we know it is over. Our Republic would be over.

‘Then it is our duty as Americans to fight, kill and die for our rights.’

The men who have been arrested continued to exchange texts and emails until the riot.

Rhodes encouraged them online, according to the indictment.

On January 4, he posted online: ‘It is CRITICAL that all patriots who can be in DC get to DC to stand tall in support of President Trump’s fight to defeat the enemies foreign and domestic who are attempting a coup, through the massive vote fraud and related attacks on our Republic.

‘We Oath Keepers are both honor-bound and eager to be there in strength to do our part.’

In another, he said: ‘As we have done on all recent DC Ops, we will also have well armed and equipped QRF1 teams on standby, outside DC, in the event of a worst case scenario, where the President calls us up as part of the militia to to assist him inside DC.

‘We don’t expect a need for him to call on us for that at this time, but we stand ready if he does (and we also stand ready to answer the call to serve as militia anytime in the future, and anywhere in our nation, if he does invoke the Insurrection Act).’

Despite his alleged role in organizing the men who have been charged, Rhodes has not.

He claimed in March that he and other Oath Keeper members were the victims of a conspiracy.

‘I may go to jail soon, not for anything I actually did, but for made-up crimes,’ he said.

This superseding indictment, part of a larger federal government criminal conspiracy case, now includes a total of 16 Oath Keepers. The other 12 co-defendants have pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutors have said in recent weeks that other members of the militia group planned to commit violence and brought firearms into the city.

The Oath Keepers accept anyone, the recent court filing notes, but ‘explicitly focus on recruiting current and former military, law enforcement, and first-responder personnel.’


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