Richard “Bigo” Barnett, a man who faces charges of breaking into House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office and posing for photos at her desk during the Capitol storming on January 6, is now reportedly selling autographed copies of the photos in an effort to pay his legal costs.
The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette first reported the launch of The Richard “Bigo” Barnett Legal Defense Fund on Tuesday. The fundraising website states, “As a token of his appreciation for contributions of $25 or more, Richard will email you a copy of his court filing that resulted in his release. For contributions of $100 or more, Richard will send you a picture of him with his feet up on a desk while on house arrest.”
Barnett’s photo at Pelosi’s desk became one of the viral images from January 6, when thousands of demonstrators surrounded the Capitol and hundreds more entered the building during a joint session of Congress to certify the results of the 2020 presidential election for Joe Biden.
Barnett’s attorney, Joseph D. McBride, Esq., of New York City, said, “We are raising money to ensure a robust defense against the biggest prosecution in the Department of Justice’s storied history because the poor and middle class should not lose on the legal battlefield for lack of money. We will not allow the federal government to bully Richard simply [because] it has an unlimited budget. This is the story of David v. Goliath, and we intend on defeating the giant.”
Barnett faces seven charges in connection to the riot, including entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds with a deadly or dangerous weapon, a charge which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. The weapon in question was a ZAP Hike N’ Strike 950,000 Volt Stun Gun Walking Stick that Barnett purchased at a Bass Pro Shop a week earlier. Barnett’s attorneys have argued the taser walking stick wasn’t a dangerous weapon because it had no batteries in it at the time of the Capitol breach.
The fundraising website says Barnett entered the Capitol “to exercise his First Amendment right to petition his government for redress of grievance and have his voice heard.” The website further states Barnett was “swept inside the open doors” to Pelosi’s office by the crowd.
“He admits that he ended up in Speaker Pelosi’s office, put his feet up on one of the desks, smiled for the reporter’s camera, and left her a non-threatening note that the prosecutors purposely misquoted in court papers,” the website states.
Federal prosecutors have said the note in question read, “Nancy, Bigo was here, you b—h.” Barnett’s attorneys argued that the note actually read, “Nancy, Bigo was here, biatd” and the last word was meant to be “biatch,” but the c and the h ran together. Barnett’s attorneys argued that “biatch” is slang and a less offensive word.
“Richard believes that his actions were not criminal, certainly not warranting a 10-year sentence the government is seeking, but rather a constitutionally protected form of political protest,” the website states.
Insider reported some 503 people have been arrested in connection with the January 6 breach of the Capitol.