Richard Barnett, who posed with his foot on the desk of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi during the January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, has been ordered released until trial.
Soon after Barnett was arrested and charged with a felony offense for entering the Capitol with a dangerous weapon — a stun gun — as well as misdemeanor charges of unlawful entry to Congress and stealing a piece of Pelosi’s mail, a federal judge in D.C. ordered him held without bond.
Tuesday, after Barnett spent almost four months behind bars, a different federal judge in the District ordered him released to home confinement with electronic monitoring, citing a recent opinion by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit regarding a different, but similar, Capitol riot case, The Washington Post reported.
On January 28, U.S. District Court Judge Beryl Howell upheld Barnett’s detention, saying he came to the Capitol “prepared with a weapon and cloaked with entitlement,” and “seemed happy to be one of the stars of this revolt.”
However, on Tuesday, District Judge Christopher Cooper ordered the conditional release of 60-year-old Barnett, a resident of Gravette, Arkansas.
Cooper said prosecutors had failed to show Barnett posed a specific future threat to public safety that couldn’t be prevented by restrictive pretrial release conditions.
The appeals court ruling was in favor of a mother and son accused of bringing a stun gun into the Capitol, but they were not accused of other violence. The appeals panel said had it not been for the mob of people in and around the Capitol on January 6, the mother and son wouldn’t have posed much of a threat.
In Tuesday’s hearing, Cooper said there did not seem to be “a whole lot of daylight,” between Barnett’s case and that of the mother and son, according to the Post.
The judge warned Barnett that the decision to allow his release before trial didn’t mean he would be lenient if Barnett were eventually convicted, although he would take his pretrial compliance into consideration.
“Consider this a test,” the judge suggested.