Federal prosecutors, who are trying to keep one of the most recognizable faces from the Jan. 6 siege in jail ahead of trial, released a picture of the note the suspect left in Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office. Prosecutors called him a “ticking time bomb” that presents a clear danger to the community.
In an 18-page motion filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., prosecutors implored the court to deny a bail request from Richard “Bigo” Barnett, the man infamously photographed inside Speaker Pelosi’s office leaning back in the chair with his feet on a desk and a stun gun disguised to look like a walking stick in his pants. One of the icons from the insurrection, Barnett also stole a piece of mail from Pelosi’s office and claimed to have left her a note.
“’Nancy, Bigo was here, you bitch.’ Those are the words of the defendant (using his preferred nickname) in his message to Congresswoman and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi on January 6, 2021, when he invaded and occupied her office during a mass siege of the U.S. Capitol that halted constitutional proceedings and required the evacuation of members of Congress and the then-Vice President,” prosecutors wrote in the first words of the filing. “At the time, the defendant was outfitted with a stun gun purchased for the occasion, and he went on to pose for a photographer, confront officers, give an interview with a reporter, and take to a bullhorn to rile up the crowd. He then returned to his home in Arkansas, where he hid or destroyed evidence.”
A federal judge in January had ordered Barnett to remain in custody pending his trial, but after a late-March ruling from U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit heightened the standard for pretrial detention on Capitol riot cases, Barnett’s attorneys made another push for his release. Barnett’s lawyers called that guidance from the D.C. Circuit “devastating” to the proposition that their client should not be released before trial.
“Peace is no longer given a chance,” Barnett’s attorney Joseph D. McBride memorably wrote. “Common ground is out of sight. Our Constitution—an inspired document, drafted during times like these, foreseeing times like these—can only save us.”
But prosecutors say that Barnett’s actions leading up to and during the Capitol siege indicate that he is a man who believes he must continue the fight that he started.
“[T]he defendant’s poses a threat of future illegal possession of dangerous weapons and has ready access to weapons, including the weapons that he secreted with friends before his arrest in this matter,” stated the government’s opposition to Barnett’s release. “He also poses a threat of halting further legitimate government functions, given that he has both stated and demonstrated that he views himself as a soldier in a ‘war’ where part of his duty is to stop government action he disagrees with through obstructive behavior or intimidation tactics, such as by invading and occupying the office of a politician with whom he disagrees during a constitutional proceeding to which he objects. In the defendant’s mind, the January 6th riot was not the end, but just one battle in his continuing war.”
Prosecutors also cited Barnett’s “disturbing actions and vitriol” towards Pelosi, the fact that he has gained a public following in the months since the siege, and a link to QAnon as further evidence of the danger he poses.
“Through his public participation in various rallies and hosting of events at his own home, the defendant has shown his connection to and influence over other individuals, including a connection to QAnon,” prosecutors wrote. “No doubt his following has exponentially increased as a result of his brazen and flagrant conduct at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021—conduct that appears designed to attract attention and exert influence. Accordingly, the defendant has shown both the capacity and the willingness to illegally possess dangerous weapons and halt legitimate government functions by various means.”
Read below for the full filing.
[image via federal court documents]
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