By Ken Meyer
One of the most notorious participants in the storming of the U.S. Capitol has set up an online fundraiser so people can help pay his lawyer’s fees by buying signed photographs of his actions on January 6th.
Richard Barnett, a resident of northern Arkansas, became a subject of public infamy months ago when he was prominently photographed after breaking into House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office, putting his feet up on her desk, and vandalizing the room. In the days following the riot, Barnett was one of many Trump supporters who were arrested for their involvement in the violent attempt to overthrow the results of the 2020 election.
Barnett is now facing federal indictments that include theft of government property, disorderly conduct, and unlawful entry into a restricted building. He pleaded not guilty to the charges against him, and even though he was released from federal custody in late April, he remains on house arrest while he awaits trial.
According to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, a website has been set up calling itself the “Richard ‘Bigo’ Barnett Legal Defense Fund,” and it claims Barnett will send an autographed picture of himself in Pelosi’s chair “as a token of his appreciation” to those who contribute at least $100. For $25, the website says Barnett will send donors a copy of the court filing that granted his release from jail.
“We will not allow the federal government to bully Richard simply [because] it has an unlimited budget,” said Barnett’s attorney Joseph McBride. “This is the story of David v. Goliath, and we intend on defeating the giant.”
The website makes a point of complaining that it wasn’t granted a platform on GoFundMe.com, which comes months after the company announced that they wouldn’t allow fundraisers in connection with political events that hold a risk of violence. Even though Barnett has yet to be convicted, there are legal questions about whether his selling of the photo would count as him profiting from a crime, and Washington Post reports that Agence France-Presse is looking into the legalities of the matter since the Barnett desk picture is a copyrighted photo of theirs.