Lawyers for a US Capitol rioter accused of carrying a stun-gun as he stormed into House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office during the Jan. 6 invasion implored a federal judge to give “peace” a chance by releasing the suspect from jail.
In a rambling, 46-page brief filed Monday in the US District Court for Washington, DC, attorneys for Richard “Bigo” Barnett invoked the phrase in an apparent nod to John Lennon’s 1969 anti-war anthem, “Give Peace a Chance.”
“Peace is no longer given a chance,” the brief read in part. “Common ground is out of sight. Our Constitution — an inspired document, drafted during times like these, foreseeing times like these — can only save us.”
But that was not all that Barnett’s lawyers, Joseph McBride and Steven Metcalf II, were saying in the “preamble” of their brief, which asked that Barnett be freed, if not on his own recognizance, at least into the supervisory custody of his wife with his agreement that he wear a monitoring device.
“America is divided,” the preamble begins. “Her citizenry is more distrustful of government than ever before. Brother has turned against brother. Fathers have turned against sons. Sisters who once embraced, now see each other as mortal enemies. Pleas for equal treatment under the law are met with accusations of false equivalence. Citizens ask for tolerance with one breath and move to smite those with opposing viewpoints the very next breath.”
Barnett, a 60-year-old Arkansas resident, is accused of being among the hordes of supporters of then-President Donald Trump who forced their way into the Capitol on January 6 in an attempt to disrupt Congress’ certification of the 2020 presidential election results.
During the chaos, five people died, including a US Capitol police officer.
Amid the mayhem, Barnett allegedly forced his way into the private office of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), propped his booted foot up on her desk for a photograph and left a note that read in part — by his own account to a YouTuber — “Nancy, Bigo was here, you bitch.”
In the same interview, Barnett claimed that he was “pushed” into Pelosi’s office.
Barnett, who is accused of carrying a stun-gun during the invasion, is charged with unlawfully entering the US Capitol, disorderly conduct and theft of public property, with the latter charge for allegedly swiping a piece of mail from Pelosi’s office.
He was initially set to be granted bail while awaiting trial, but that decision was reversed, leading Barnett to last month label his continuing incarceration “not fair.”