A high-profile face of last year’s Capitol incursion is rejecting a plea deal from federal prosecutors, refusing an offer that would have cost him years in prison.
Richard Barnett entered the Capitol and was photographed sitting at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office desk during the riot on Jan. 6, 2021.
Barnett faces a laundry list of federal charges. The deal would have required him to plead guilty to one of the charges.
Barnett’s defense attorney, Joseph McBride, announced that his client was rejecting the deal in a virtual pre-trial hearing on Tuesday, according to KARK-TV.
The charge to which Barnett would have had to plead guilty comes with a sentencing guideline of 70 to 87 months in prison.
Barnett is 61 years old and unwilling to sign off on a deal that could land him behind bars for five years.
McBride said he couldn’t accept the deal “in good conscience,” citing his client’s age.
The lawyer said Barnett “wasn’t violent that day by any stretch of the imagination,” arguing that his actions didn’t merit lengthy imprisonment.
As one of the highest-profile demonstrators to enter the Capitol, Barnett was arrested two days after the riot.
Should Barnett be imprisoned for his role in the Capitol incursion?
Yes: 0% (0 Votes)
No: 0% (0 Votes)
If convicted, he could get one of the longest prison sentences a Jan. 6 defendant has received.
The Arkansas man has come forward with accounts of abuse tantamount to torture that he faced in a Washington, D.C., jail.
Barnett says he was subjected to unsanitary conditions and violent threats from fellow detainees and guards in the facility.
McBride described the jail as “Guantanamo Bay for American citizens.”
Other Jan. 6 detainees have also come forward with allegations of inhumane and unconstitutional treatment, and officials at the D.C. Department of Corrections were even found in contempt of court in October for failing to provide one defendant with necessary medical treatment.
Barnett has pleaded not guilty to all eight charges he faces, and his trial is slated to begin in September.
One man charged for entering the Capitol on Jan. 6 was acquitted this month.
Hundreds of demonstrators have been charged for their actions at the Capitol that day, but none have been charged with sedition.