WASHINGTON (KNWA/KFTA) — On April 12, Richard Barnett, 61, of Gravette, turned down the government’s offer of a plea deal in the case stemming from his alleged participation in the January 6, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
In a virtual pre-trial hearing that lasted just five minutes, prosecutor Mary Dohrmann informed the court that the government had presented a plea agreement offer in which Barnett would plead guilty to one charge, with the others being dismissed.
Defense attorney Joseph McBride stated that the defense could not accept the offer “in good conscience.” McBride cited Barnett’s advanced age and the sentencing guideline of 70-87 months for the charge in question as factors in the defendant’s decision to reject the offer.
“He wasn’t violent that day by any stretch of the imagination,” the defense counsel added. Judge Chris Cooper quickly acknowledged the rejection, noting that the court itself has no role when such an offer is made.
“It takes two to tango,” he added, referring to the prosecution and the defense. He noted that he has been involved in other insurrection cases that have already reached plea agreements.
The call ended with Judge Cooper stating that he would “sit back and wait for any motions” before the next pretrial conference. The defense previously requested an extension to deal with a “voluminous amount” of discovery material.
Barnett is charged with: 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, and his trial is scheduled to begin on September 6.