Man ID’d as speaker’s office invader appears before judge

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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) – The man identified as the rioter photographed sitting in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office chair during last week’s Capitol insurrection made his initial federal court appearance Tuesday.

Richard Barnett, 60, of Gravette, Arkansas, appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Erin Wiedemann in Fayetteville, Arkansas, to hear the charges against him. Among them is a charge that he unlawfully entered a restricted area with a lethal weapon – in this case, a stun gun.

Barnett also is charged with disorderly conduct and theft of public property. If convicted on all charges, including the new lethal weapon count, he could be sentenced to more than 11 years in federal prison.

Barnett’s conceded the validity of the arrant against him, said his attorney, Anthony Siano of White Plains, New York. Siano offered no further comment.

Barnett will remain in federal custody at the Washington County Detention Center in Fayetteville pending a Friday virtual detention hearing, at which time a judge will decide whether to grant him bond.

Barnett surrendered himself voluntarily Friday to FBI agents at the Benton County Sheriff’s Office in Bentonville, Arkansas, and has remained in the Washington County jail since then.

Authorities say Barnett was among supporters of Trump who stormed the Capitol on Wednesday. Five people died because of the protest and violence, including a Capitol police officer.

Authorities said in court documents that they were able to identify Barnett in part through photographs taken by news media when he was inside the building. Authorities also used video surveillance from inside the Capitol and a video interview Barnett gave to a New York Times reporter in which he said, “I didn’t steal (an envelope). … I put a quarter on her desk, even though she ain’t (expletive) worth it.”

Barnett is from Gravette in northwest Arkansas. He has identified himself on social media as a Trump supporter and gun rights advocate.

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