WASHINGTON — A man photographed casually sitting with his foot on a desk in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office at the U.S. Capitol while a pro-Trump mob rampaged the halls of Congress was arrested Friday, law enforcement officials said.
Richard Barnett, 60, of Gravette, Arkansas, was taken into custody in his home state on federal charges of entering and remaining on restricted grounds, violent entry and theft of public property, according to a Department of Justice official. Further details were not immediately available.
Images, apparently of Barnett, were splashed across social media as the deadly mayhem unfolded in the nation’s capital on Wednesday, just as Democratic and Republican lawmakers convened to count the Electoral College votes. Members of Congress condemned the violence and rioting, which was preceded by a rally led by President Donald Trump who told his supporters to swarm the Capitol in defiance of the election results.
Also charged Friday in connection with the rioting at the Capitol was a state lawmaker from West Virginia, Republican Del. Derrick Evans, who had recorded and then deleted a video of himself joining the throng. A petition has been started for him to step down.
As the chaos continued Wednesday afternoon, a New York Times reporter tweeted that he spoke with Barnett after his stunt in Pelosi’s office. In a video, he boasts that he took a personalized envelope, but insisted he didn’t steal it.
“I left a quarter on her desk,” he said.
Barnett also claimed that he knocked politely on the door to the California Democrat’s office, but was then swept inside by other rioters who had breached the Capitol. He said he left a “nasty note” as well, using an expletive to refer to Pelosi.
“I’ll probably be telling them this is what happened all the way to the D.C. jail,” he added.
It was not immediately clear Friday if Barnett had an attorney.
The mayor of Gravette said the photos have brought threats and other unwelcome attention to his small, rural community near the Missouri border.
“It’s a shame something like this is what puts you in the public eye,” Mayor Kurt Maddox said, according to NBC affiliate KNWA. “This is not the city of Gravette. This one person is not who Gravette is and not who the people are.”
Aides to Pelosi have said her office was vandalized on Wednesday, and confirmed that a laptop from a conference room had been stolen. The equipment, however, was used only for presentations, an aide said.
Pelosi and other Democratic leaders have called for Trump to be removed from office amid his final days in the White House.
The FBI is requesting the public’s help in identifying other Trump supporters who unlawfully invaded the Capitol for about four hours, with investigators poring over surveillance footage and social media posts. But the vast majority of the hundreds of people who stormed the building were allowed to leave without getting arrested, making the task of tracking them down exceedingly difficult.
So far, dozens of arrests have been made, including 41 people who were at the Capitol grounds late Wednesday and early Thursday, according to D.C.’s Metropolitan Police Department.
Pete Williams reported from Washington, and Erik Ortiz from New York.
Alex Moe contributed.