Arkansas Man Sentenced to Prison for Infamous Capitol Riot Photo

Richard “Bigo” Barnett, the Arkansas man famously photographed with his feet on a desk in then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office during the January 6, 2021, Capitol riot, has been handed a prison sentence of four and a half years. The sentencing took place on Wednesday, following a request by federal prosecutors for a sentence of more than seven years, taking into account Barnett’s actions leading up to, during, and after the riot.

In their court filing, prosecutors highlighted the image of Barnett, appearing relaxed and smiling while lounging in Pelosi’s office, which had become one of the most recognizable symbols of that fateful day. This photograph came to symbolize the rioters’ perceived control over both the sacred space and the democratic process itself, as they clashed with the nation’s elected officials.

Barnett’s defense team argued that he should not face a sentence exceeding six months in prison, presenting him as a 63-year-old retired firefighter and bull rider from rural Arkansas who had come to Washington, D.C. for his first-ever peaceful protest. They emphasized that Barnett had unfortunately become entangled in the events that transformed an otherwise ordinary Wednesday into the historic day now known as “January 6.”

However, U.S. District Court Judge Christopher Cooper disagreed with the defense’s stance and ultimately sentenced Barnett to 54 months in prison. Barnett had previously been found guilty in January on eight charges related to the Capitol attack, including theft of government property and entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds with a deadly or dangerous weapon. Prosecutors revealed that Barnett had equipped himself with a ten-pound steel pole and a “stun device” during the riot.

Richard “Bigo” Barnett outside the courthouse in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 10, 2023.

Barnett’s presence in Pelosi’s office, reclining in a chair with his feet up, propelled him into the national spotlight and solidified his status as a recognizable figure from the riot. In addition to his actions in the office, Barnett also took an envelope, later displayed for cameras outside the Capitol. He admitted to leaving a derogatory note addressed to Pelosi, referring to her with a sexist expletive.

During his testimony, Barnett expressed remorse for his actions, admitting that he should not have put his feet on the desk. Initially, he found it amusing, but upon reflection, he recognized it as crass and inappropriate. However, after his conviction, Barnett maintained that he was a victim of “political persecution” and criticized the jury, claiming they were not his peers.

This case exemplifies the ongoing repercussions of the January 6 Capitol riot and the significance of individual actions during such events. The sentencing of Richard Barnett highlights the seriousness with which the court regarded his role in the attack on the symbol of American democracy. The image of Barnett with his feet on the desk became a powerful visual representation of the riot and its impact on the nation. It serves as a reminder that actions have consequences, especially when they infringe upon the sanctity of democratic institutions.

Alex Robin

With years of experience in crafting clever and satirical pieces, Alex has made a name for himself as one of the funniest and sharpest writers in the industry. Although his true identity remains a mystery, what is clear is that Alex has a knack for finding the absurdity in everyday situations and turning them into laugh-out-loud funny stories. He has a unique perspective on the world and is always on the lookout for the next big target to skewer with his biting wit. When he's not writing hilarious articles for, Alex enjoys playing practical jokes on his friends and family, watching stand-up comedy, and rooting for his favorite sports teams. He also has a soft spot for animals, particularly his mischievous cat, who often inspires his comedic material.

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