After deliberating for less than three hours, a Washington, D.C., jury convicted U.S. Capitol riot defendant Richard Barnett, who admitted he put up his feet on a desk in then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office.
One of the highest-profile defendants from the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the Capitol, 62-year-old Barnett, of Arkansas, who was infamously photographed with his feet on the desk, also acknowledged taking a piece of mail from the speaker's office, while also being part of the mob overrunning the Capitol.
According to the Associated Press, prosecutor Alison Prout told the court, "We can only imagine what would have happened if (Pelosi) had been there at the time."
Barnett was convicted of a series of federal crimes, including obstruction of an official proceeding, civil disorder and entering a restricted building. He was also prosecuted for the theft of mail.
He claimed to have been "in the moment" and "going with the flow" while he was in the Capitol. However prosecutors, the AP noted, said Barnett was carrying a stun gun when he stormed the Capitol and invaded Pelosi's office.
Barnett faces multiple years in prison at sentencing May 3 but was permitted to be remain free until the sentencing hearing.
The conviction is the latest in a string of victories for the Justice Department in Capitol riot cases. Federal prosecutors have secured partial or full convictions in every Jan. 6 case to go to a jury trial.
Barnett testified in his own defense and underwent a lengthy and, at times, heated cross-examination by a Justice Department prosecutor. Barnett often interrupted the prosecutor's questions, but admitted regrets for using a vulgar, misogynistic phrase about Speaker Pelosi and for putting his feet on the desk. At one point, in a raised voice, he testified he was a "f***ing idiot" on Jan. 6, but argued his acts were not criminal. His defense attorneys said prosecutors went too far in bringing certain charges.
The cross examination of Barnett included questions about Barnett's reverence for the Constitution and the American flag. When asked by the prosecutor if loved the Constitution, Barnett responded, "Love it!"
Then, when asked if he loved the 1st Amendment, Barnett answered "yes." He responded the same when asked if he loved the 2nd and 3rd Amendments. The assistant U.S. attorney then asked if Barnett knew what the 3rd Amendment was.
Barnett responded that he did not know.
Prosecutors showed surveillance video clips that appeared to show Barnett dragging an American flag as he moved through the Capitol on Jan. 6. They had previously pressed Barnett about whether it was unpatriotic to let the American flag touch the ground. Barnett had answered it was unpatriotic to do so.
After the verdict was read, Barnett claimed he had not received a fair trial because of the makeup of the jury. He claimed the jury was not composed of his "peers." Barnett's attorney Joe McBride argued, "Washington, D.C., is not a state. He's not surrounded by people of Arkansas, where he came from." He said Barnett plans to appeal.
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