In the legal investigation of the storming of the US Capitol two years ago, the intruder who posed at the desk of top politician Nancy Pelosi is now also awaiting punishment. A jury in the capital Washington found Richard Barnett guilty on eight counts on Monday. In a separate trial, four members of the far-right US militia Oath Keepers were also found guilty of "seditious conspiracy".
Barnett was found guilty of, among other things, obstructing an official process and entering an official building with a dangerous or deadly weapon. The sentence is to be announced on May 3rd. The man from the state of Arkansas faces a long prison sentence, prosecutors spoke of up to 47 years in prison.
The defendant had admitted under cross-examination that when a police officer asked him to leave Pelosi's office, he replied, "You must give up Communism." He also admitted telling an official at the Capitol, "We're at a war. You have to choose a side. Don't be on the wrong side or you'll get hurt."
Barnett told the court he regretted what happened that day at the Capitol, but did not consider his actions illegal. After the guilty verdict, he told reporters outside the courthouse, "This is not a jury of my own kind. I disagree with the decision, but I appreciate the process and we will certainly appeal."
The 62-year-old stormed the Capitol together with hundreds of supporters of President Donald Trump, who was voted out of office on January 6, 2021, when the election victory of current President Joe Biden was to be finally confirmed there. Barnett then forced his way into the office of then-House Speaker Pelosi.
An AFP photographer snapped the gray-bearded man as he settled into the Democrat's office chair at Pelosi's desk and rested his foot on her desk. Barnett became one of the most famous faces of the attack on Congress - and was arrested in Arkansas two days later.
At the Capitol, the man nicknamed Bigo told journalists that he had left a note for Pelosi that said, "Nancy, Bigo was here, bitch." He was armed with a walking stick with a stun gun.
The storming of the Capitol with five fatalities had shaken the United States deeply and caused international horror. Since then, the police have arrested more than 950 suspects, and the legal investigation is ongoing.
Four members of the Oath Keepers were also found guilty Monday in a trial separate from Barnett's trial. A jury in Washington found her guilty of "seditious conspiracy" against the US government. Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes was found guilty of this particularly serious charge in November.
Impeachment proceedings had been initiated against ex-President Trump, who had called on his supporters to march on the Capitol, because of the storming of the Capitol, but failed in the Senate. Last November, US Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed a special counsel to examine, among other things, Trump's role in what happened.
In December, a parliamentary inquiry recommended that the US judiciary initiate criminal proceedings against the ex-president and ban him from all public offices. Among other things, it is about the accusation of inciting or aiding and abetting an uprising and obstructing an official process.