WASHINGTON (KNWA/KFTA) — A Gravette man charged for his actions during the January 6, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol has filed a motion asking for a charge against him that was reworded in a superseding indictment to be dismissed.

Richard Barnett, 62, has a trial date set for January 9 on eight federal charges. In a January 5 filing, the defense noted that the government’s superseding indictment submitted on December 22, 2022 “substantially changed” a count of obstruction of an official proceeding and aiding and abetting against Barnett.

The filing noted that the new indictment deleted some language from the original charge and it noted related case law saying that the “Court must dismiss an indictment which fails to state all essential elements of the crime charged.” It added that a criminal statute is unconstitutionally vague “if it fails to give ordinary people fair notice of the conduct it punishes.”

The filing went on to claim that “count two of the indictment fails to state an offense because it charges Mr. Barnett with a non-existent offense as one of the elements.” It noted that another court dismissed a similar case for obstruction of justice because it “must identify the official proceeding that was the object of the obstruction” and did not do so.

“There can be no crime because there is no such proceeding,” the motion said, in reference to the “alleged proceeding” in question: Congress’ certification of the Electoral College vote.

“Congress was not certifying anything under the Twelfth Amendment or the Electoral
Count Act on January 6, 2021,” the filing said. “The only places where certification occurs is at the states.”

“Because Mr. Barnett is being accused of a crime he could not have physically aided or committed given the lack of a specified, actual proceeding that could be obstructed as a required element of the crime, Count Two must be dismissed.”

USA vs. Richard Barnett, defense motion to dismiss, January 5

It went on to say that the indictment “still lacks specificity” even if the named proceeding did exist.

“He never saw Congress or was in its vicinity when he was pushed into the Capitol,” the motion said. “Congress had left the building by the time Mr. Barnett was pushed in. Mr. Barnett
cannot have interfered with the resumption of any proceeding because he left the Capitol not long after entry.”

The filing concluded by asking the court to dismiss the “irretrievably defective” charge. On the same day, the defense submitted a separate filing asking for another charge to be dismissed as well.

Barnett is charged with: civil disorder, obstruction of an official proceeding; aiding and abetting; entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds with a deadly or dangerous weapon; disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds with a deadly or dangerous weapon; entering and remaining in certain rooms in the Capitol Building; disorderly conduct in a Capitol Building; parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a Capitol Building; theft of government property.

He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.