The man who kicked his feet up at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s desk during the Capitol riot was “pushed” into the building by a wave of protesters, his lawyer says.
Richard Barnett, 61, was arrested two days after photos of him at the January 6 riot circulated on the internet, including one where he had his feet up on Pelosi’s desk and another where he held an envelope with her signature on it. But Barnett’s lawyer says his client was swept into the capitol while facing away from the building.
“He was pushed into the Capitol on the sixth by the crowd,” Joseph McBride, Barnett’s attorney, told The Daily Wire. “Prior to the doors being opened, you had sort of a groundswell tidal wave. People were trying to get in. Other people were nearly swept up in the crowd because there was nowhere to go between them.”
Video reviewed by The Daily Wire shows someone — who McBride says is Barnett — saying “they’re pushing” and “we have no choice” when he entered the building. At 2:50 p.m., around seven minutes after court documents say he entered, Barnett was captured on surveillance video walking into the top Democrat’s conference room while holding an American flag, according to the DOJ. He has also said he took an envelope, leaving behind a quarter and a note on her desk calling her a “b****.”
He left Pelosi’s office six minutes after entering, according to the DOJ. His lawyer says law enforcement told him to leave, and that Barnett then went into the Rotunda, where police created a “holding area” and did not let people leave.
Barnett has been hit with a litany of charges, including obstruction of an official proceeding, theft of government property, entering and remaining in a restricted building with a deadly or dangerous weapon, and other misdemeanors. The defendant rejected a plea deal Wednesday that would have carried up to 87 months in prison. If convicted of the obstruction felony, he could face 20 years in prison.
The U.S. Attorney’s office in Washington, D.C., declined a request for comment.
Two days after the riot, law enforcement searched Barnett’s home and found packaging for a stun-gun hiking stick that he had in his possession on January 6, according to the DOJ. He was charged with a felony carrying a 10-year maximum prison sentence.
McBride believes his client would have been charged with having a dangerous weapon regardless of what he had been carrying that day. He also said the hiking stick’s stun-gun functionality couldn’t have worked.
“It had been disabled the night before,” said the lawyer. “He showed up with the stun gun device inoperable.”
His trial is scheduled for September 6.