The Trial that “Wasn’t Fair”: Capitol Rioter, Richard Barnett, Has an Outburst in Court


Architect of the Capitol

Insurrectionists, including Richard Barnett, breached the US Capitol on January 6.

Mia Burke, Prospect Staff Writer

Following the events at the US Capitol Building on January 6, there were many questions regarding how the insurrectionists would be tried. One of the most notable figures at the riot was Richard Barnett, the Arkansas man who was pictured with his feet on top of a desk in the office  of House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi. He was charged with disrupting official proceedings, disruptive and disorderly conduct, and parading.

On Thursday March 4, Barnett proceeded to “throw a tantrum” at his virtual court hearing. Barnett yelled at Judge Christopher Cooper of the Federal District Court in Washington, as well as his own lawyers, saying that it “wasn’t ‘fair’ he was still in jail weeks after his arrest. He argued that he did not want to be behind bars for another month, claiming that “Everybody else who did things much worse are already home” and  “I’ve been here for a month, they’re going to set it for another month, and everybody else is getting out”.

Barnett’s attorney, Joseph D. McBride, denied that the outburst in court was directed towards Judge Cooper. McBride went on to explain that “Mr. Barnett’s frustration stems from the fact that he is incarcerated pre-trial, despite lacking any criminal history, being gainfully employed, respected in his community, and in a stable relationship for over 20 years.” 

After being spotted in Pelosi’s office that infamous day, Barnett was taken into custody in Arkansas, his home state. He was taken in on the federal charges of entering and remaining on restricted grounds, violent entry, and theft of public property. The 60 year old was seen at the scene carrying a stun gun from his belt and he left the scene with an envelope from Pelosi’s desk. Regardless if the court is “dragging this out!” and “ letting everybody else out!”, as Barnett claims, his next hearing will take place on May 4. Along with Barnett, the Department of Justice has found over 300 people to be criminally charged in connection to the riot from January 6th. As these court hearings proceed and the insurrection moves further into the past, domestic terrorism is becoming more prevalent as a national security issue, not just in regards to the Capitol building, but on the whole in the United States.