Man photographed at desk in Pelosi’s office during Capitol riots is arrested, DOJ says

A 60-year-old Arkansas man who was photographed Wednesday with his feet up on a desk in the U.S. Capitol office of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been arrested, the U.S. Department of Justice announced Friday.

This undated photo provided by the Washington County, Arl., Sheriff’s Office shows Arkansas resident Richard Barnett, who was taken into custody Friday, Jan. 8, 2021, and is being held in the county jail after he was charged by federal prosecutors with three counts for storming the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday in Washington. Barnett was in a viral photo where he could be seen inside House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office. (Washington County Sheriff’s Office via AP)

Richard Barnett was taken into custody in Little Rock, Arkansas, and charged with the following: knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority; violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds; and theft of public money, property, or records, a Justice Department news release stated.

Ken Kohl, the top deputy federal prosecutor in Washington, said Barnett was charged for entering Pelosi’s office, where he “left a note and removed some of the speaker’s mail.”

An investigation began after U.S. Capitol Police learned that someone had illegally entered the speaker’s office and was photographed behind a desk, according to court documents.

“The shocking images of Mr. Barnett with his boots up on a desk in the Speaker of the House’s office on Wednesday was repulsive,” Acting U.S. Attorney General Jeffrey A. Rosen said in the release.

Barnett was identified as the man in the picture after the photo was circulated on various news media platforms, the release read.

Investigators 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.”

Authorities then confirmed the identification by checking law enforcement databases.

Barnett was among supporters of President Trump who stormed the Capitol on Wednesday as Congress met to confirm Joe Biden’s election win, authorities said. Five people died because of the protest and violence, including a Capitol police officer.

“This case is just one in a number that demonstrate the brazen acts that were committed at the Capitol on Wednesday,” Michael Sherwin, the acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, said in the release. “My Office is committed to prosecuting all individuals who participated in these abhorrent acts to the fullest extent of the law.”

Barnett faces a maximum prison sentence of one year if convicted. He’s expected to appear in federal court on Friday before he is extradited to Washington D.C.

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