Capitol riot defendant Richard "Bigo" Barnett -- who gained infamy for kicking up his feet on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's desk and helping himself to a piece of her mail -- lost a round in federal court Friday.
U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper declined a request from Barnett to travel 200 miles from his Arkansas home to a classic-car swap meet, reports the Westside Eagle Observer of Gravette, AK., Barnett's hometown. Barnett was placed in a 50-mile-radius house arrest -- curiously enough -- while awaiting trial upon his release from federal custody April 28.
In opposing Barnett's request, Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary L. Dohrmann "argued that Barnett should be under more restrictions, rather than fewer," the paper reported.
"She noted that Barnett lives on a large piece of property where he has free rein, "which purportedly enables him to work on classic cars."
"Taking advantage of that permission, the defendant held a birthday party on his property," she wrote. "Local law enforcement has been called by third parties to the defendant's home twice, for unverified reasons," she wrote.
"On a different occasion, a police report was taken in a different county from an individual claiming the defendant harassed him in connection with a business deal, but the matter was deemed a civil dispute," Dohrmann wrote.
Barnett's attorney, Joseph McBride of New York City -- seen here attempting to advocate for his client on CNN -- argued that his client had been cleared by Pretrial Services to host the party.
"To be clear, Mr. Barnett did celebrate his birthday at home with approximately 10-12 people who were not at the Capitol on January 6, 2021," McBride wrote. "Nowhere in the conditions of his release is there a prohibition against this. The fact that the government is trying to convert this into some kind of nefarious behavior is demonstrative of the fact that government will stop at nothing to make Mr. Barnett's life a living hell."
"Police went to Barnett's property once, not twice, McBride wrote. That was because someone heard gunfire, but it didn't come from Barnett's property, according to an email Barnett's Pretrial Services officer sent to McBride."
McBride also defended Barnett regarding the civil dispute, in which his client "discovered that several expensive parts, including the engine, had been stripped from" a 1941 Chevy truck for which he had swapped.
"Barnett called the seller several times out of concern of being ripped off," McBride wrote. "The seller then called the police and made a false statement to police, knowing full well that Barnett was on pretrial release and under the supervision of this court. Law enforcement investigated, and determined that Barnett had done nothing wrong."
In his ruling against Barnett Friday, Cooper stated:
"The court is not persuaded that the defendant cannot pursue gainful employment within a 50-mile radius of his home as permitted by the current conditions," according to the order. "The court will consider requests for limited exceptions to the challenged condition for bona-fide employment purposes (as well as for other purposes permitted under the current conditions)."
So, Barnett's post-release conduct remains in dispute, but this much doesn't: His lawyer has scrapped the extremely self-confident tone that his client displayed in a video played to the media after the riot, according to the FBI. In it, he was asked about an envelope he allegedly removed from Pelosi's office
"I did not steal it. I bled on it because they were macing me and I couldn't fucking 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 fucking worth it. And I left her a note on her desk that says "Nancy, Bigo was here, you B*tch."
This has become the object of much scrutiny because the note appeared to read "biatd" -- presumably meaning "biatch" -- rather than "b*tch." And because the photo of Barnett with feet on Pelosi's has become one of the more iconic scenes from the riot.
Barnett faces a six-count indictment, that includes a charge for Entering and Remaining in a Restricted Building or Grounds with a Deadly or Dangerous Weapon, which carries a 10-year maximum penalty. He is accused on bringing a 950-volt ZAP Hike N Strike Stun Gun Walking Stick into the Capitol building.
You can read the amended FBI arrest statement of facts in the case here.