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The Guy Who Sat Behind Pelosi's Desk In The Capitol Riot Can't Travel To A Car Show, A Judge Ruled

Richard Barnett is one of the highest-profile Capitol insurrectionists, thanks to the viral photos of him behind the desk in Nancy Pelosi's office.

Posted on June 18, 2021, at 2:43 p.m. ET

Saul Loeb / AFP via Getty Images

Richard Barnett sits inside the office of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi during the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

An Arkansas man photographed sitting behind a desk in the office of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi after he and other Donald Trump supporters stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 will not be permitted to travel to an upcoming car show, a federal judge ruled Friday.

Richard Barnett, one of the highest-profile Capitol insurrectionists, thanks to the viral photos of him behind the desk, is currently under home confinement after being released from pretrial detention in April.

He is facing one felony count of bringing a dangerous weapon into the Capitol — a stun device shaped like a walking stick — as well as two misdemeanor counts for violent entry and disorderly conduct and theft of government property (an envelope he said he'd taken from the office).

In a court filing Monday, his attorney asked that his conditions be relaxed so that he might travel more than 50 miles from his home. The attorney said Barnett had lost his job as a window salesperson during his months in jail and now needed to travel in order to make money buying and selling classic cars.

"While this [50-mile confinement] is practical from someone who lives in an urban or suburban area," his defense attorney wrote, "it is not practical for Mr. Barnett because he lives in rural Arkansas and work frequently requires him to travel more than 50 miles from his home to buy inventory that he must inspect, appraise, negotiate, and purchase in person."

Barnett also asked for permission to travel more than 200 miles from his home Friday night to a classic-car swap meet, stay the night, then return home Saturday.

Barnett sits behind Nancy Pelosi's desk and smiles with his tongue out.
Saul Loeb / AFP via Getty Images

Barnett behind Pelosi's desk.

But federal prosecutors had opposed the motion, writing that there was no evidence Barnett needed to travel, and he lived near major population centers in Arkansas.

They also argued that he still posed a danger to the community because, in part, "he will use weapons, intimidation, or physical presence to halt legitimate government functions as a soldier in the ‘war’ he believes is currently underway in the United States."

Prosecutors also pointed to an interview Barnett and his attorney did with Russian state television this week in which the defendant was asked whether he would do it all over again.

After his attorney advised him to wait until legal proceedings were over before answering, Barnett responded, "I exercise my First Amendment rights every hour, every minute, and every day, and I will never quit expressing my First Amendment rights. I live and die by the Constitution of these United States.”

In response, prosecutors said the crimes Barnett were charged with were not constitutionally protected speech.

In a brief ruling Friday, Judge Christopher R. Cooper for the US District Court for the District of Columbia denied Barnett's request, saying he was "not persuaded that the Defendant cannot pursue gainful employment within a 50-mile radius of his home as permitted by the current conditions."

Cooper also denied Barnett's request to travel to the swap meet, citing concerns over how he would be supervised during the trip.

Barnett's attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.