WASHINGTON (KNWA/KFTA) — On April 12, Richard Barnett, 61, of Gravette, Arkansas, turned down the government’s offer of a plea deal in the case stemming from his alleged participation in the January 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Barnett was photographed sitting at a desk in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office that day.
In a virtual pre-trial hearing Tuesday, prosecutor Mary Dohrmann informed the court that the government had presented a plea agreement offer in which Barnett would plead guilty to one charge, with the others being dismissed.
Defense attorney Joseph McBride stated that the defense could not accept the offer “in good conscience.” McBride cited Barnett’s advanced age and the sentencing guideline of 70-87 months for the charge in question as factors in the defendant’s decision to reject the offer.
“He wasn’t violent that day by any stretch of the imagination,” the defense counsel added. Judge Chris Cooper quickly acknowledged the rejection, noting that the court itself has no role when such an offer is made.
“It takes two to tango,” Judge Cooper added, referring to the prosecution and the defense. He noted that he has been involved in other insurrection cases that have already reached plea agreements.
The call ended with Judge Cooper stating that he would “sit back and wait for any motions” before the next pretrial conference. The defense previously requested an extension to deal with a “voluminous amount” of discovery material.
Barnett is charged with: Obstruction of an Official Proceeding; Aiding and Abetting; Entering and Remaining in a Restricted Building or Grounds with a Deadly or Dangerous Weapon; Disorderly and Disruptive Conduct in a Restricted Building or Grounds with a Deadly or Dangerous Weapon; Entering and Remaining in Certain Rooms in the Capitol Building; Disorderly Conduct in a Capitol Building; Parading, Demonstrating, or Picketing in a Capitol Building; Theft of Government Property.
He has pleaded not guilty to all charges, and his trial is scheduled to begin on September 6.
According to the Associated Press, more than 700 people were arrested for the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol with more than 160 reaching plea deals.
A Proud Boys leader, 34-year-old Charles Donohue, recently pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding and one count of assaulting, resisting or impeding a law enforcement officer, The Hill reports. The man photographed carrying Pelosi’s lectern in the Capitol, Adam Johnson, was sentenced to 75 days in prison earlier this year.