FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — In a virtual pretrial hearing on February 1, the defense team for Richard Barnett told Federal Judge Christopher R. Cooper that they still need more time to process discovery in order to mount a defense.
Barnett, 61, is facing federal charges for his role in the January 6, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
Speaking for the prosecution, attorney Mary Lyle Dohrmann noted that discovery aspects of the government’s case against Barnett are “substantially complete,” and that the majority of “scoped materials” have been provided to the defense. She added that they are waiting on additional reports on the “unscoped entirety of devices” related to the case.
“The amount of progress that has been made is truly remarkable,” she said, adding that a supplemental update should be ready this week or next week. She also suggested to the court that a trial date be set.
Defense Attorney Joseph Daniel McBride stated that there have been “changes in how we access things,” referring to the wealth of discovery material.
“It’s going to take awhile,” he explained. “It is substantial, to say the least.” He voiced his preference that no trial date be set until discovery is complete.
At the last pretrial hearing on November 23, 2021, the judge stated that this February conference would be the time to “fish or cut bait,” and suggested that either a plea deal be accepted or a court date would be set.
“You’ve known for quite some time,” he reminded the defense today, noting that it has been approximately one year since the indictment. “This is an important matter.”
The prosecutor then stated that “no plea offer has ever been extended due to a lack of interest.”
After a discussion about specific calendar dates and availability, the parties all settled on April 12 for the next pretrial hearing. The judge also set this as a tentative deadline for filing any additional motions with the court.
The second week of September was proposed as a possible start for trial, but no date was officially set.
The defense mentioned a desire to make an application related to Barnett’s pretrial services and the conditions of his release, and the judge quickly asked them to file an official motion after the hearing.
The virtual session ended in less than 20 minutes.
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.