The man photographed sitting at a desk in Nancy Pelosi’s office during the Capitol Hill riots has been identified by the media as Richard Barnett of Arkansas – and he is now insisting he is “not a thief” despite allegedly swiping a letter addressed by the House speaker.
Barnett, as of midday Thursday, does not appear to be facing any charges related to the storming of the U.S. Capitol Wednesday, which resulted in four deaths and at least 70 arrests. Demonstrators are still being sought by police.
“If you are a wicked attorney get in touch with me – I’m going to need one or two,” he told KFSM in a phone interview following the chaos.
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The 60-year-old from Gravette went viral Wednesday after images purportedly showed him sitting in a chair behind a desk in Pelosi’s office.
“As I’m looking for the bathroom I walked by and there were doors opened to offices. I looked in and saw it was Nancy Pelosi’s office,” he told KFSM.
“I sat down here in my desk. I’m a taxpayer. I’m a patriot. That ain’t her desk – we loaned her that desk,” he continued. “And she ain’t appreciating the desk, so I thought I would sit down and appreciate the desk.”
Barnett said at that point he realized he was cut and had “bled on her envelope.” One of the viral images appears to show blood on his left thumb.
“So I picked up the envelope and I put it in my pocket and I put a quarter on the desk. Cause I’m not a thief,” he told KSFM.
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New York Times reporter Matthew Rosenberg later caught up to Barnett outside the Capitol. On his Twitter account, he shared an image of Barnett holding an envelope addressed by the California lawmaker.
“I didn’t steal it. I bled on it because they were f—–g macing me and I couldn’t f—–g see,” Barnett said in a video also posted to the account. “And so I figured well I’m in her office, I got blood in her office. I put a quarter on her desk even though she ain’t f—–g working.”
Barnett had announced on one of his Facebook pages late last month that he would be attending Wednesday’s pro-Trump rally in the nation’s capital, according to The Washington Post.
“This is OUR COUNTRY!!!,” the newspaper said he wrote on Dec. 28. “Can you give one day from the Internet or work or whatever to be active,” adding “get the f— up people. Please STAND!!! If not now, when?”
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The account also featured images of Barnett and others protesting the 2020 presidential election result outside the Capitol building in Little Rock, Ark., the Post reported.
In one post, he wrote he “came into this world kicking and screaming, covered in someone else’s blood” and “I’m not afraid to go out the same way,” the newspaper added.
The Washington Post reported that another post on an account purportedly operated by Barnett criticized Pelosi for using “white nationalist” as a “derogatory term.”
“I am white. There is no denying that. I am a nationalist. I put my nation first. So that makes me a white nationalist,” the newspaper says he wrote, although the posting could not be independently verified and the accounts appear to have since been taken offline.
A call by Fox News on Thursday to a phone number purportedly belonging to Barnett went straight to a full voicemail inbox.
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At a “Stop the Steal” rally in Bentonville, Ark., in November, KNWA broadcasted video of Barnett holding a “Banana Republic USA” sign.
“Hey if you don’t like it, send somebody out to me but I ain’t going down easy,” he told the station that day.