Investigators get info from iCloud account of Gravette man in U.S. Capitol breach

Has D.C. riot suspect’s account details, prosecutor says

Richard Barnett (Washington County sheriff's office & special to the Arkansas Democrat Gazette/AFP via Getty Images/Saul Loeb)

The whereabouts of Richard "Bigo" Barnett's cellphone have been somewhat of a mystery since he visited the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 and propped his feet on a desk in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office.

But federal prosecutors may not need it after all.

They've gotten information from Barnett's iCloud account, according to a filing Friday in federal court in the District of Columbia.

"Please note that we also wish to provide you with information received pursuant to the warrant for your client's iCloud account," Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary L. Dohrmann wrote in a letter emailed to Barnett's attorney, Joseph McBride of New York City.

The letter was filed in the court record along with a "notice of discovery."

McBride couldn't be reached for comment Friday.

Barnett, 61, of Gravette faces seven charges in connection with the Capitol riot, including one accusing him of carrying a dangerous weapon into the building that day. That weapon was a ZAP Hike 'N Strike 950,000 Volt Stun Gun Walking Stick that Barnett bought at Bass Pro Shop in Rogers, according to authorities.

The Jan. 6 riot escalated from a "Stop the Steal" rally in which supporters of former President Donald Trump entered the Capitol and attempted to stop Congress from certifying the Electoral College vote indicating that Joe Biden had won the presidential election. Five people died in connection with the riot.

Barnett became well-known after photographs of him with his feet on the desk circulated in the media. He left Pelosi a note saying "Bigo was here" and then referred to her as a "biatch," although the scrawled words looked more like "biatd."

The discovery material in Barnett's case consists of 549 files, Dohrmann wrote in Friday's letter to McBride.

It includes Capitol CCTV footage, body-worn camera video, FBI reports, search warrant return information, other digital media and investigative reports, wrote Dohrmann.

Barnett's cellphone has been a sticking point for investigators. Barnett can be seen with a cellphone in his hand in photographs and footage of the Capitol incursion.

Barnett's cellphone could provide incriminating evidence regarding himself or others, according to investigators, and messages on his phone could indicate whether he conspired with anyone else to enter the Capitol on Jan. 6.

Barnett made some changes before driving home from Washington, Assistant U.S. Attorney Kimberly Harris said in a Jan. 15 detention hearing in Fayetteville before Chief Magistrate Judge Erin Wiedemann.

"He turned off location services on his phone, he paid only in cash and he covered his face," Harris told the court. "He then hurried home and set about removing any items of evidentiary value, including his phone. Make no mistake, by then he knew law enforcement was coming for him."

Barnett used a different phone to call the Benton County sheriff's office to turn himself in, according to testimony in that hearing.

Barnett told FBI investigators that they wouldn't find anything if they searched his house.

"I assure you, I'm a smart man, there is nothing there," an FBI man recalled Barnett saying.

If investigators have found Barnett's cellphone or the stun gun, it hasn't been reflected in court filings or in hearings in the case. They did, however, find the stun gun packaging at his house.

In a hearing on Jan. 29, Chief Judge Beryl A. Howell in the District of Columbia took Barnett to task, ordering him to remain in jail at that time.

"Defendant's involvement in the Capitol assault and brazen conduct inside the Capitol and offices of the Speaker of the House pose an obvious danger, bolstered by his prior public actions while armed that prompted police attention, and ownership of an unknown number of firearms removed from his home before his surrender," Howell wrote. "Those firearms, his phone and the stun gun have not been recovered."

Howell concluded that Barnett was a danger to the community.

"The court finds that defendant poses a danger to the community because of his brazenly illegal conduct, pattern of armed disturbance, and access to firearms and weapons, like the stun gun, that remain missing," Howell wrote.

"He also poses a risk of flight, having admitted to taking evasive action of covering his face, using cash only and turning off location monitoring on his phone when he left D.C., bragging to law enforcement about removing incriminating evidence from his home before surrendering, and his partner admitted to having a 'safe house' where she met defendant on his return from D.C."

Citing precedence in other Jan. 6 defendant cases, another federal judge, Christopher R. Cooper, who is now handling Barnett's case, released him on April 27 so he could return home to Arkansas pending trial. Barnett is to remain within 50 miles of his home. He later asked for permission to go to Petit Jean Mountain for a car show, but Cooper wouldn't give him that much rein.

Barnett has a status hearing scheduled for Tuesday.

Two other Arkansans have been arrested in connection with the Jan. 6 Capitol riot: Peter Francis Stager of Conway and Jon Thomas Mott of Yellville.

All three have pleaded innocent.

Trials haven't been scheduled yet in any of those three cases.