US Capitol rioter pictured with his feet on Nancy Pelosi’s desk is jailed
A man who propped his feet up on Nancy Pelosi’s desk during the US Capitol riot has been sentenced to more than four years in prison.
Richard “Bigo” Barnett became one of the faces of the January 6 2021 riot by supporters of Donald Trump.
Barnett seemed at times to enjoy the notoriety, US District Judge Christopher Cooper said at his sentencing on Wednesday.
“All the folks who follow ‘Bigo’ need to know the actions of January 6 cannot be repeated without some serious repercussions,” Judge Cooper said, alluding to the media attention and social media following Barnett attracted after the riot.
The photos of Barnett lounging at a desk in Mrs Pelosi’s office made him one of the most memorable figures from the riot.
Barnett, 63, testified he was “going with the flow” and struck a pose after news photographers told him to “act natural.”
He told the judge that joining the riot was “an enigma in my life” that he regretted, but said prosecutors wanted him to be “remorseful for things I did not do.”
January 6 was a traumatic day for everyone, not just law enforcement,” he said. He has vowed to appeal his conviction.
He testified at trial that he was swept along with the crowd into the Capitol, and was looking for a bathroom when he unwittingly entered Mrs Pelosi’s office and encountered two news photographers.
Cooper, though, said he did not believe Barnett played such a passive role.
It was established at trial that Barnett brought into the Capitol a stun gun with spikes, concealed within a collapsible walking stick.
Barnett also took a piece of Mrs Pelosi’s mail and left behind a note that said, “Nancy, Bigo was here,” punctuating the message with a sexist expletive.
Before leaving Capitol grounds, Barnett used a bullhorn to give a speech to the crowd, shouting, “We took back our house, and I took Nancy Pelosi’s office!” according to prosecutors.
Defence attorney Jonathan Gross said Barnett didn’t hurt anyone or damage property, and was being singled out because the photo had made him famous.
More than 1,000 people have been charged with federal crimes related to the Capitol riot. Just over 500 of them have been sentenced.
More than half have received prison terms ranging from a week to over 14 years.