Russian state TV has hailed as an “American patriot” the infamous Capitol riot suspect who was photographed gleefully sitting with his foot on a desk in the office of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) the day of the Jan. 6 insurrection.
Richard “Bigo” Barnett, 60, appeared in an interview that aired Sunday complaining about jail after his arrest on charges linked to the attempted overthrow of the presidential election, The Daily Beast first reported.
The segment aired just days before President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin are scheduled to meet for the first time in Geneva on Wednesday.
Special correspondent Valentin Bogdanov of Russian TV channel Rossiya-1 interviewed Barnett, a self-described white nationalist from Arkansas, via FaceTime. He described Barnett as “colorful” — a word Putin has used to characterized Donald Trump. Bogdanov also falsely referred to the 2020 U.S. presidential election as “stolen,” a claim that has no basis in fact.
Barnett has been charged with several crimes, including obstruction of an official proceeding, disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds with a deadly or dangerous weapon (a stun gun), and theft of government property.
He allegedly took a piece of Pelosi’s mail and left her a note, apparently calling her a “bitch,” though he misspelled the word.
“I exercise my First Amendment rights every hour, every minute, and every day, and I will never stop,” Barnett boasted to Bogdanov.
Barnett was released to home detention in April after complaining that being held behind bars wasn’t “fair” when other Capitol suspects were allowed to return home following their arrests.
“They’re letting everyone else out,” Barnett yelled during his hearing before U.S. District Court Judge Christopher R. Cooper, the Daily Beast reported. “I’ve been here a long time. It’s not fair. This has been a bunch of crap.”
A judge had turned down an earlier request, ruling that Barnett’s “entitled behavior … shows a total disregard for the law … and the Constitution.”
Barnett is due back in federal court for a hearing on Tuesday.
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