Notorious Nancy Pelosi hater, office invader, and alleged stun gun enthusiast Richard “Bigo” Barnett told a judge on Tuesday that he is standing in solidarity with his fellow Jan. 6 defendants by refusing to shave his beard.
Barnett appeared via video before U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper for a status conference Tuesday. At the start of the hearing, Cooper noted to Barnett that his beard appeared longer than the last time he saw him.
“I’m not shaving it until the J6ers are free,” Barnett replied.
Barnett had been in custody following his arrest in January of 2021, and he was released in April.
Donald Trump and others have taken to referring to the Jan. 6 defendants currently in custody as “political prisoners,” even though that’s not actually the case. And although some Jan. 6 defendants have complained about the conditions, a report by the U.S. Marshals Service found that the most serious problems at the D.C. jail were in a part of the complex separate from where the Jan. 6 defendants have been housed.
According to prosecutors, Barnett was part of the mob that breached the Capitol building on Jan. 6 after hundreds of Trump supporters overran police and stormed the building in an effort to stop Congress from certifying President Joe Biden’s 2020 electoral win.
If anyone reacted or responded to Barnett’s statement Tuesday, it wasn’t audible on the public line used by reporters and others interested in listening to hearings related to Jan. 6 prosecutions.
Cooper, a Barack Obama appointee, then turned to the issue of calendaring the case, indicating a strong desire to set a date for trial as soon as reasonably possible.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary Dohrmann told Cooper that case-specific discovery was largely complete, but global discovery—that is, discovery related to the all the Jan. 6 prosecutions in general—was ongoing, although the government expects that to be complete within the coming months.
Barnett’s attorney Joseph McBride, however, said he wasn’t ready to set a trial date.
“I’m not particularly comfortable setting a date for trial until discovery has been completed,” McBride said, noting that he had to hire a team of people to review the extensive discovery in the case.
McBride asked for a trial date no earlier than November.
Cooper didn’t sound particularly pleased, reminding McBride that at the last status conference, the judge had instructed McBride that he “should be prepared to come back today with either a development on a plea or ready to set a trial date.”
Cooper said that cases such as Barnett’s must move forward.
“You’ve known for quite some time that it would be time to get this case to trial if a non-trial resolution was not worked out,” Cooper said. “I try to accommodate attorneys’ trial schedules, but this is an important matter. It’s in federal court. The case has been under indictment for over a year now, or close to a year. So while I may be able to work with you a little bit, we won’t be here two years from January 6, ok? Let me just say that.”
Dohrmann requested a trial date for sooner rather than later, and noted that the Jan. 6 case have been challenging for prosecutors as well.
“We are all having to set trials uncomfortably close,” Dohrmann said, before requesting a trial date “as early as possible.”
After some more back and forth with the lawyers, Cooper set the case for trial in early September.
While some 165 cases out of at least 725 Jan. 6 prosecutions have resulted in plea agreements, that hasn’t happened in this case.
McBride said that he had not received any updates as to whether a plea offer may be coming from prosecutors.
“No plea offer has been extended due to the lack of interest in the type of plea offer the government would extend,” Dohrmann said.
McBride called that characterization “a little speculative on the part of the government.”
Cooper told the attorneys to discuss potential plea offers, and ordered them back for a status conference on April 12.
[Images via DOJ]
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