Richard “Bigo” Barnett of Gravette ordered to report to prison Aug. 1 in Capitol riot case

Richard “Bigo” Barnett of Gravette has been ordered to self-report to prison Aug. 1 to begin serving his 4½-year sentence in connection with the U.S. Capitol riot, according to a motion filed Thursday in federal court in the District of Columbia.

The filing doesn’t specify the prison to which Barnett, 63, has been assigned, and the federal Bureau of Prisons doesn’t release that information before a prisoner arrives at the designated facility.

The filing was a motion requesting permission to remove Barnett’s ankle monitor before he reports to prison so the probation office in Arkansas doesn’t lose it. But the judge hadn’t acted on that request as of Thursday night. Barnett has been wearing an ankle monitor for over two years while he was under home detention.

After a two-week trial in January, a federal court jury in Washington, D.C., found Barnett guilty on all eight charges filed against him — four felonies and four misdemeanors.

Barnett faced enhanced charges for taking a dangerous weapon — a stun gun — into the Capitol during the riot of Jan. 6, 2021. While there, Barnett posed for photographs with his foot on a desk in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office suite.

The jury also found Barnett guilty of interfering with a police officer who was trying to perform his duties during a civil disorder.

On May 24, Barnett was sentenced to 4½ years in prison. Barnett’s attorney, Jonathan Gross, said Barnett will be given credit for four months he served in the District of Columbia jail in 2021.

After he is released from prison, Barnett will be on supervised release for three years. He was also ordered to pay $2,000 restitution.

The day Barnett was sentenced, Gross filed a motion asking U.S. District Judge Christopher R. Cooper to give Barnett three months to report to prison, but the judge denied that request.

Barnett has appealed his conviction to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and requested a public defender to represent him there.

In Thursday’s motion, Gross asked Cooper to grant permission to Barnett’s probation officer in Arkansas to remove Barnett’s ankle bracelet prior to his surrender date.

A request made with the District of Columbia probation office was denied, according to the filing.

The probation office is responsible for the cost of the ankle monitor if it is not removed, according to the filing.

“Based on prior experience, the best way to ensure that the United States Probation Office does not incur the cost of the ankle monitor is to arrange for the monitor to be removed before Defendant’s self-surrender,” wrote Gross.

The probation officer in Arkansas doesn’t believe Barnett would be a flight risk if his ankle monitor is removed, according to the motion.

“In the past two years, the Defendant has no violations of his conditions of release,” wrote Gross. “Given the Defendant’s history of compliance and that his self-surrender date is just 12 days from the filing of this motion, the Probation Officer does not have concerns that the removal of the ankle monitor prior to the self-surrender date will have any impact on the Defendant’s compliance with his scheduled self-surrender.”

Gross didn’t respond to a text message asking about Barnett’s prison assignment.

Barnett had requested to be sent to a minimum-security federal prison, but the Board of Prisons doesn’t usually support a placement recommendation that is over 500 miles away from the defendant’s residence, according to the May 24 motion from Gross.

“Because of his age, Mr. Barnett is seeking a minimum security prison camp with no violent offenders and with work and psychological programs,” wrote Gross. “However, after researching the matter Mr. Barnett could not find any appropriate facilities within 500 miles from where Mr. Barnett lives in Northwest Arkansas.

“Because of the absence of appropriate facilities within 500 miles, the Defendant respectfully requests that the Court make a recommendation that the Board of Prisons allow for a placement outside of 500 miles from Mr. Barnett’s residence. Any facility beyond 500 miles would be considered with your recommendation. For example, Mr. Barnett’s first choice in Yankton, South Dakota is approximately 545 miles away, and the others are also outside of 500 miles.”

The Yankton prison has a dog-training program, Gross told the judge during Barnett’s sentencing hearing.

In a written response on May 30 to Gross’ motion from a week earlier, Cooper said prison placement decisions aren’t up to the court.

“Determinations regarding security-level placements lie in the sound discretion of BOP based on its internal criteria,” he wrote. “The Court generally plays no role in those determinations.”


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