Prosecution submits filings in case of Gravette man

On May 31, the prosecution submitted a handful of filings in its case against Richard Barnett,...
On May 31, the prosecution submitted a handful of filings in its case against Richard Barnett, 61, of Gravette, regarding his actions during the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.((Washington County Sheriff's Office via AP File))
Published: Jun. 6, 2022 at 8:31 PM CDT
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WASHINGTON, D.C. (KNWA/KAIT) – On May 31, the prosecution submitted a handful of filings in its case against Richard Barnett, 61, of Gravette, regarding his actions during the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

According to content partner KNWA, key points in the filings include clarifying language in the indictment against Barnett, in addition to limiting the scope of potential Secret Service testimony to prevent cross-examination.

The motion to strike portions of the indictment refers to specific language addressing the “Vice President-elect” in the counts against the defendant.

Both then-Vice President Mike Pence and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris were present at the time, and some of the charges against Barnett are related to actions taken in “a building or grounds where the President or other person protected by the Secret Service is or will be temporarily visiting”.

According to KNWA, the motion said the United States Secret Service is authorized to protect both the Vice President and Vice President-elect.

Attached statements from a U.S. Capitol Police Sergeant and a staff assistant for the Secret Service provided details about the locations for both that day.

“Deleting reference to the Vice-President-elect simply ‘narrows’ the scope of the charges, which ‘adds nothing new to the grand jury’s indictment and constitutes no impermissible broadening,’” the filing notes. The motion is signed by U.S. Attorney Matthew Graves and assistant U.S. attorneys Mary Dohrmann and Alison Prout.

The government filed a separate motion regarding the cross-examination of Secret Service witnesses at trial.

The motion states the government intends to call an agent “to meet its burden of proof at trial”, adding the agent will “testify that at the time of the Capitol breach, Secret Service agents were on duty to protect Vice President Mike Pence and his two immediate family members, all of whom were present at the Capitol.”

The motion notes the nature of the information Secret Service agents have, which officials said limits the scope of potential cross-examination for security reasons, according to KNWA.

The document specifies Barnett’s defense should be “specifically foreclosed” from questioning witnesses about Secret Service protocols related to the locations of protected individuals, including their motorcades, and other details such as the number and type of agents involved in protection duty.

The filing notes the court has the discretion to limit precisely this type of cross-examination, going on to ask that cross-examination be specifically limited to testimony regarding whether the Capitol was restricted on the date in question.

The government lastly filed an omnibus motion seeking to “preclude three categories of evidence and arguments”:

  • Evidence or argument related to any potential penalty
  • Evidence or argument intended to elicit jury nullification
  • Defense evidence not produced in reciprocal discovery, and expert witnesses and affirmative defenses not identified pursuant to the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure

According to KNWA, the prosecution noted Barnett used video clips “apparently record on [his] phone” as exhibits in support of his attempt to receive a pretrial release.

When the government executed a search warrant and examined the defendant’s phone, including his iCloud account, they discovered he had allegedly deleted any data related to the Jan. 6 insurrection.

In an interview with investigators, Barnett told law enforcement he turned off location services on his phone while driving back to Arkansas and he only used cash while keeping his face covered. He also told agents they may not be able to find much at his house because “he is a ‘smart man’”.

Some of Barnett’s charges include obstruction of an official proceeding, entering, and remaining in a restricted building or grounds with a deadly or dangerous weapon, disorderly conduct in a Capitol building, and theft of government property.

He has pleaded not guilty to all charges and is expected to go on trial on Sept. 6.

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