WASHINGTON — The lawyer for Richard Barnett, the Arkansas man photographed with his feet on Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s desk during the Capitol riot, says he wants the DOJ to turn over video that may show Capitol Police opening the doors of the building to the mob, including his client.
Attorney Joseph McBride told a federal judge Tuesday morning that he believes there is exculpatory video among the hundreds of hours of footage collected by the Justice Department that could contrast with the portrayal the DOJ has made of him.
“We believe there is a video of Mr. Barnett actually helping a Capitol Police officer reestablish a barricade or move it back into its original position,” McBride said during a status hearing. McBride also said he believes there’s evidence that the Capitol doors Barnett eventually used to enter the building “were actually opened by the Capitol Police themselves.”
“We would just like to draw attention to those videos, given the full scope of information they are turning over to us,” McBride said.
In the immediate aftermath of the January 6 insurrection, a number of videos were posted to social media appearing to show some Capitol Police officers moving barricades and otherwise seeming to allow the mob into previously restricted areas without resistance. Those videos are vastly outnumbered, however, by the hours and hours of footage showing Capitol and D.C. Police officers being beaten, pepper sprayed and, in at least the case of MPD Officer Michael Fanone, Tased by members of the pro-Trump crowd.
Barnett isn’t the first Capitol riot defendant to claim the DOJ hasn’t released potentially helpful video evidence. Last week, Stanley Woodward, an attorney for Federico Klein – a Capitol riot defendant and State Department appointee of former President Donald Trump – argued in court that the Justice Department wasn’t meeting its obligations to his client. Woodward said the government needed to do more than just turn over a massive “trove” of video. Instead, he said, they have a responsibility to identify any footage that might be favorable to Klein.
In addition to his concerns over possible videos from the riot, McBride also asked U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper to consider a motion he filed Monday that would allow Barnett to travel outside of the current 50-mile radius he’s restricted to. McBride said Barnett needs to be able to travel up to 250 miles from his home to pursue his job, which involves buying and selling classic cars.
“At this time, your honor, this is the only way he has to make ends meet, provide for his family and, of course, pay for his defense,” McBride said.
Cooper gave the DOJ until Friday to respond to Barnett’s motion. His next status hearing was set for August 24 at 10 a.m.
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