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Jan. 6 rioter seen gleefully invading Nancy Pelosi’s office with stun gun gets lengthy prison sentence

Richard 'Bigo' Barnett AP photo with DOJ with inset

Jan. 6 rioter Richard ‘Bigo’ Barnett is seen going to court, and in the inset, enjoying his invasion of Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s office. (Photo via AP/Manuel Balce Ceneta; Inset via DOJ)

Jan. 6 rioter Richard “Bigo” Barnett will have plenty of time to contemplate his invasion of then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office behind bars after being sentenced to 4 1/2 years, multiple outlets reported.

Among the hundreds charged with felonies for the attack on the U.S. Capitol, Barnett ranks among the few whose images have become a symbol of the attack. The Alabama man was seen smiling ear to ear with a stun gun in his pants and a foot kicked up on a desk inside Pelosi’s office. He left a note on the desk sneering: “Bigo was here b—-.”

His lawyers played down the missive, noting he used a variation of the sexist slur: “Biatch.”

With prosecutors asking to send him to prison for 7.25 years, Barnett’s attorneys claimed that their client has been treated unduly harshly because his “case is famous.”

“The worst accusations against Mr. Barnett amounted to 20 minutes of nonviolence in the Capitol, a stolen envelope, and literally seconds of verbal altercation with a police officer,” his attorney Jonathan Gross argued in a sentencing memo.

Though lower than what prosecutors wanted, U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper’s sentence hewed exactly to the recommendation of the U.S. Probation Department.

Cooper, a Barack Obama appointee, reportedly called Barnett a “face” of Jan. 6 and told him he enjoyed the “notoriety,” according to CBS.

Before those moments, Barnett reportedly tried to play down his actions during his remarks in court.

“They say I’m not remorseful,” Barnett said, according to CBS. “They say I’m a terrorist […] You know I’m not.”

The 63-year-old claimed that he couldn’t be remorseful “for things I did not do,” reportedly expressing confidence he’d be found “innocent” on appeal, according to the network.

On Jan. 23, 2023, a federal jury threw the book at Barnett, convicting him of several felonies and multiple misdemeanors. The major counts included obstruction of an official proceeding, interfering with a police officer during a civil disorder, entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds with a dangerous or deadly weapon, and disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds with a dangerous weapon.

The dangerous weapon in question was a 950,000-volt stun gun and walking stick, with the brand name “Hike ‘n Strike.” The defense insisted the device was “non-dangerous,” but Judge Cooper quoted Barnett’s own menacing words in finding otherwise.

“I figure, you know, with a swing or two I could fend something off, or if it got really rough I could just pop the end off this thing [demonstrating shock feature] and I could light you up with about 950,000 volts,” Barnett said, as quoted in a ruling affirming his convictions.

The U.S. Probation Department sought a significantly lighter sentence than the one sought by prosecutors: 4.5 years. Prosecutors aimed higher.

After Barnett left the Capitol, he boasted of his exploits to the press, brandishing an envelope swiped from Pelosi’s office.

“I did not steal it,” Barnett told the outlet, according to prosecutors. “I bled on it because they were macing me and I couldn’t f—— see so I figured I am in her office. I got blood on her office. I put a quarter on her desk even though she ain’t f—— worth it. And I left her a note on her desk that says ‘Nancy, Bigo was here, you b—-.’”

Pelosi desk Notes

Jan. 6th rioters left these notes on a desk inside Nancy Pelosi’s office. (Photo via DOJ)

Though Barnett’s attorney brushed off an encounter with a police officer as a “verbal altercation,” footage showed a more eyebrow-raising exchange.

“Hey hon, can you do me a favor, though? Try to be a patriot,” Barnett could be heard telling a female officer, as he exits a room marked “Office of the Speaker.”

“I’m being one,” the unseen officer replied.

As Barnett walked away, he appeared to threaten her by stating: “Don’t be on the wrong side. You’re going to get hurt.”

During his remarks in court, Barnett denied the remarks to the officer were intended to be threatening, according to CBS.

Barnett’s attorneys claimed that a prison term in line with the government’s request would amount to a “life sentence” for their 63-year-old client.

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Law&Crime's managing editor Adam Klasfeld has spent more than a decade on the legal beat. Previously a reporter for Courthouse News, he has appeared as a guest on NewsNation, NBC, MSNBC, CBS's "Inside Edition," BBC, NPR, PBS, Sky News, and other networks. His reporting on the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell was featured on the Starz and Channel 4 documentary "Who Is Ghislaine Maxwell?" He is the host of Law&Crime podcast "Objections: with Adam Klasfeld."