Jan. 6 rioter who was seen in Pelosi's office is chided by judge at sentencing

"I admit I was angry, and I apologize," the defendant said.

May 24, 2023, 8:22 PM

Richard "Bigo" Barnett was sentenced on Wednesday to four years and six months in prison for his role in the Jan. 6 riots at the Capitol.

Barnett became one of the most recognizable figures in the 2021 attack after images circulated showing him with his feet propped up on a desk in then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office.

Barnett profited from online fundraisers and even tried selling signed copies of the photos on social media.

He was convicted in January on all charges, including felonies for obstruction of an official proceeding and civil disorder as well as several misdemeanors.

PHOTO: Richard Barnett, a supporter of President Donald Trump sits inside the office of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi as he protests inside the US Capitol in Washington, DC, Jan. 6, 2021.
Richard Barnett, a supporter of President Donald Trump sits inside the office of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi as he protests inside the US Capitol in Washington, DC, Jan. 6, 2021.
Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images, FILE

In explaining his sentencing decision Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper noted Barnett's lack of remorse, saying he didn't believe that Barnett was simply swept up in the rioting mob, as Barnett had testified.

"You were an active participant," Cooper said.

Leaning back in his chair -- and wearing a long white beard, gray suit jacket, silver tie and dark red shirt -- Barnett, 63, gazed back at the judge. When he was called forward for his final remarks before sentencing, he struck a mostly defiant tone but apologized for being "angry that day."

He also said he'd "behaved perfectly" while he was free on supervised release.

Despite touting his admiration and support for law enforcement, Barnett claimed "peaceful" protesters were attacked by police at the Capitol two years ago.

"I was angry that day," he said. "I admit I was angry, and I apologize for that."

PHOTO: In this Jan. 10, 2023, file photo, Richard Barnett, left, an Arkansas man who was photographed with his feet on a desk in former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office during the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot, arrives at federal court in Washington, D.C.,
In this Jan. 10, 2023, file photo, Richard Barnett, left, an Arkansas man who was photographed with his feet on a desk in former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office during the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot, arrives at federal court in Washington, D.C., with his attorneys, Joseph McBride, right, and Bradford Geyer, second from right.
Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP, FILE

Barnett insisted the government "misconstrues every word I say" and that "they want me to be remorseful for things I did not do."

He was ordered to self-surrender to authorities after getting his affairs in order Wednesday.

According to prosecutors, Pelosi's staff were "psychologically traumatized" by the events of Jan. 6. Many aides left the office afterwards and some left government altogether.

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