Capitol rioter who was photographed with his feet on a desk in Nancy Pelosi's office is sentenced to 4.5 years in prison

·2 min read
A supporter of then-President Donald Trump sits inside the office of Speaker of the House
Richard Barnett, a supporter of then-US President Donald Trump sits inside the office of then-US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi as he protest inside the US Capitol in Washington, DC, January 6, 2021.SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images
  • Richard "Bigo" Barnett was sentenced to 4.5 years in prison on Capitol riot charges.

  • The Arkansas man gained notoriety after being photographed with his feet on a desk in Pelosi's office.

  • Prosecutors alleged that Barnett remained unapologetic throughout his legal ordeal.

The Capitol rioter who gained infamy after being photographed with his feet on a desk in then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office on January 6, 2021, was sentenced to 4.5 years in prison on Wednesday.

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Richard "Bigo" Barnett, 63, of Arkansas, was previously convicted of eight counts related to his role in the attack, including two felony charges.

Photos of Barnett with his feet propped up on a Pelosi staff desk during the siege became some of the most memorable and symbolic images of the attack.

US District Judge Christoper Cooper suggested as much when he chided Barnett this week in court for at times appearing to revel in his notoriety, according to media reports. The judge suggested Barnett's hefty sentence was a message to the rioter's fans and other participants in the attack that storming the Capitol comes with consequences.

In addition to perching on the desk, Barnett was captured on video bragging about leaving the representative a note that said "Nancy, Bigo was here, you biatch."

Barnett spent months trying to cash in on his fame after the riot, even auctioning off photos of himself in Pelosi's office to fundraise for his legal defense. 

He told the judge during his sentencing that he regretted joining the riot, which he described as "an enigma in my life," according to NPR, but insisted that prosecutors have pushed him to be remorseful for things he "did not do."

Barnett testified that he was swept up in the crowd of rioters on January 6 while admiring the artwork in the Capitol and looking for a bathroom. But prosecutors alleged Barnett played a more active role in the attack, highlighting the stun gun he brought along to the Capitol that day.

Barnett vowed to appeal his conviction, suggesting he was treated "unfairly" during the legal process.

Prosecutors accused Barnett of consistently downplaying his role in the attack. Prosecutor Alison Prout suggested this week that his conduct continues to be akin to a "4-year-old temper tantrum," according to CNN. 

An attorney for Barnett, meanwhile, argued that his client was being unfairly targeted because of the infamous photo's popularity. The lawyer did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

May 26, 2023: This story has been updated to reflect the fact that Barnett put his feet on a staff desk in Pelosi's office. A previous version incorrectly said Barnett has put his feet on Pelosi's desk.

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