- A photo of Richard Barnett in Nancy Pelosi’s office during the insurrection went viral.
- But his defense is trying to reframe the tenor of a note Barnett left Pelosi on her desk while there.
- In a motion for bail, his defense argued that Barnett called Pelosi a “biatch,” not a “b—-” in the note.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
An Arkansas man arrested and charged for his role in the Capitol insurrection is arguing slang semantics in a new request for bail.
Richard “Bigo” Barnett, a self-described white nationalist who posed for a now-infamous photo in Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office amid the January 6 insurrection, denied allegations that he left a note on Pelosi’s desk calling the California lawmaker a “b—-” in a filing for bail modification made last week.
Barnett claimed he called Pelosi a “biatch,” a “less offensive” slang word for “b—-,” according to his attorneys.
In the Friday filing, Barnett’s defense team accused federal prosecutors of misquoting the defendant’s note to Pelosi in a “deliberate attempt to mislead the Court” to ensure Barnett remains detained ahead of his trial.
In the government’s opposition memorandum filed earlier this month, prosecutors quoted the letter Barnett is accused of leaving for Pelosi: “Nancy, Bigo was here, you b—-.”
Prosecutors suggest Barnett’s note to Pelosi indicate Barnett is a danger to the public and should be kept in jail pending his trial, according to the Friday filing. Prosecutors are also citing the stun gun he brought to the Capitol on January 6, an interview he gave following the attack, allegations that he hid or destroyed evidence once he returned to his home in Arkansas, and “provocative and dangerous conduct” leading up to the riot, as evidence he should be held before trial.
Barnett’s attorneys claimed the government misrepresented the defendant’s message to Pelosi.
“The written note, however, says, ‘Hey Nancy Bigo was here biatd,'” the bail motion said. “It does not say ‘you’ or ‘b—-‘ or have any commas; and the word ‘Hey’ is intentionally omitted.”
A footnote in the filing clarified that the “d” in the word in question was meant to be two letters, “c” and “h,” with the two connected to spell the word “biatch.”
The defense defines the word as “slang” and a “less offensive word for b—-.” Barnett’s attorneys even include a link to idioms.thefreedictionary.com/biatch, which defines the word as “rude slang” and a “variant of ‘b—-,’ used as a term of endearment or disparagement for another person.”
But in a video taken by New York Times reporter Matthew Rosenberg the day of the siege, Barnett told the outlet he used the word “b—-‘ in the letter he left Pelosi, while holding up a personalized envelope he took from the Speaker’s desk.
—Matthew Rosenberg (@AllMattNYT) January 6, 2021
“I wrote her a nasty note, put my feet up on her desk and scratched my balls,” Barnett told Rosenberg. “I left her a note on her desk, it says, ‘Nancy, Bigo was here you b—-.”
Barnett was arrested in January and indicted on a slew of federal charges, including violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds; knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building without lawful authority; and theft of public money, property, or records.
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