Man on Pelosi’s desk begins Capitol riot trial

WASHINGTON (AP) — An Arkansas man who put his feet up on the office desk of then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi during the U.S. Capitol riots spent weeks planning trips and preparing for the violence. It’s come, prosecutors said on Tuesday while his trial was underway.

Richard “Viggo” Burnett stormed the Capitol, broke into Pelosi’s office, and put a stun gun in his pants as he posed for the photo that became one of the more famous images of the attack. He also took some of her emails and left a note that read, “Nancy, Vigo was here.”

“Defendant violated that space,” prosecutor Alison Prout said in her opening statement. “He came prepared for violence.”

Staff were gathered in halls at the time, leaving computers, cell phones and personal files behind to hide from the riot.

Before leaving the Capitol grounds, Burnett delivered a speech over a loudspeaker to the crowd, yelling, “We got our house back and Nancy Pelosi’s office!” According to prosecutors.

“Burnett emerged as a prominent figure in the attack on the Capitol following a widely circulated photo of him in Speaker Pelosi’s office and subsequent interviews,” prosecutors wrote in court filings. .

“Everything he did internally was based on political protests…it was all protests, protests, protests,” the defense wrote. I decided to wait.

Defense attorneys claim the former firefighter did not tear down barriers or attack police when he was forced into the building with other crowds. I wandered into Pelosi’s office suite in search of a bathroom.

A grand jury indicted Barnett on eight counts, including felony civil disorder and obstruction of official process. He is also charged with entering and remaining in a prohibited building or property with a lethal or dangerous weapon (a stun gun with spikes hidden inside a folding cane). .

Prosecutors said Barnett had been planning for weeks before driving from his home in Gravett, Arkansas, to Washington, D.C., to attend the “Stop Theft” rally on January 6. After returning home to Arkansas, he hid or destroyed evidence of his participation in the riot, according to court documents.

Burnett turned himself in to an FBI agent At the sheriff’s office in Bentonville, Arkansas, two days after the riot. He told investigators that a large crowd pushed him into the Capitol.

Arkansas Bass Pro Shop records show Burnett purchased the stun gun five days before traveling to Washington. FBI agents found a package of devices in his home.

In June 2021, Burnett appeared on Russian state television with a lawyer. According to prosecutors, when asked if he would do it again, he replied, “I exercise my First Amendment rights every hour, every minute, every day, and I will never stop.”

Prosecutors said Burnett had a history of being armed at political demonstrations prior to the Jan. 6 attacks. reported pointing a rifle at her during a “The Blue” rally.

“Law enforcement ultimately closed the investigation as frivolous due to unresolved apparent discrepancies in the evidence,” the prosecutor said.

In November 2020, police were called to a Save the Children rally and received a call that Barnett was carrying a gun and acting suspiciously at a protest.