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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Columbia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, January 23, 2023

Arkansas Man Who Put His Feet on Desk in the Offices of Former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, Found Guilty of Felony and Misdemeanor Charges Related to Capitol Breach

Defendant Illegally Entered Office of the Speaker of the House

            WASHINGTON – An Arkansas man was found guilty in the District of Columbia today of felony and misdemeanor charges for his actions during the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol Breach. His actions and the actions of others disrupted a joint session of the U.S. Congress convened to ascertain and count the electoral votes related to the presidential election.

            Richard Barnett, 62, of Gravette, Arkansas, was found guilty of all charges including: obstruction of an official proceeding, interfering with a police officer during a civil disorder, entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds with a dangerous or deadly weapon, disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds with a dangerous weapon, all of which are felonies.  He was also found guilty of entering and remaining in certain rooms in a capitol building, disorderly conduct in a capitol building, theft of government property, parading or demonstrating in a capitol building.

            Barnett was arrested on January 8, 2021 in Little Rock, Arkansas. U.S. District Court Judge Christopher R. Cooper scheduled a sentencing hearing for May 3, 2023.

            According to the government’s evidence, U.S. Capitol Police learned that an individual had entered the restricted office area of the Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi and was photographed with his feet propped up on furniture. Those photos were circulated on numerous news media platforms which identified the individual as Barnett. A search of law enforcement databases confirmed that the individual in the news photographs did in fact appear to be Barnett. 

            Evidence established that Barnett carried a Zap Hike ‘N Strike Walking Staff with spike electrodes with him as he traveled through the Capitol, and that he exposed those spike electrodes as various points that day, including during a face to face encounter with a Metropolitan Police Officer. During that encounter, Barnett threatened to call in the mob and push through the line of officers if the officer did not go and retrieve Barnett’s flag, that he had left in the officers of the former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi. 

             Barnett faces a maximum penalty of 47 years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

            This case is being investigated by the U.S. Capitol Police and the FBI’s Little Rock, Arkansas and Washington Field Offices, with the assistance of the Justice Department’s National Security Division.

            In the 24 months since Jan. 6, 2021, more than 950 individuals have been arrested in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol, including over 284 individuals charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement. The investigation remains ongoing. 

            Anyone with tips can call 1-800-CALL-FBI (800-225-5324) or visit tips.fbi.gov.

Topic(s): 
Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 
23-32
Updated January 23, 2023