WASHINGTON (KNWA/KFTA) — The prosecution filed a response in federal court after a Gravette man requested another continuance in his case over charges stemming from his alleged participation in the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
Richard Barnett, 61, had a trial date set for January 9 but his defense filed a motion seeking a two-month continuance. In a December 31, 2022 response to that motion, the government stated that Barnett “has failed to meet his burden to identify any compelling reason for the requested continuance.”
“He consistently sought continuances and never once declared that he was ready for trial, even asserting medical
justifications while simultaneously traveling to and appearing at multiple events.”
Government’s response to Barnett’s motion for continuance, December 31, 2022
The defense cited a recently-filed eighth charge as one of the primary reasons it needs more time to prepare for trial, but the government response took issue with that.
“The addition of the civil disorder charge does not impact the scope of the defendant’s
behavior that is on trial,” the filing said. “There are no surprises here. The defendant has known the full scope of his own conduct on January 6, 2021 since January 6, 2021.”
The health of the defense team’s lead attorney is another factor. Joseph D. McBride said that he canceled a December 9 medical procedure and other appointments and treatments “against the orders of his medical team” to be trial-ready.
In a separate filing on December 27, another defense attorney, Steven Metcalf, submitted a motion to withdraw as counsel, noting that he has a conflicting trial that resumes on January 3 and is expected to last at least six to seven weeks. He added that McBride had asked him to stay on until replacement counsel was added to the defense team.
The prosecution response added that the latest request represented a pattern of behavior by the defense and cited a timeline to support that claim, including the following events:
- March 18, 2022: Defense counsel moved to extend the deadline to file pretrial motions by 45 days.
- May 31, 2022: The defense missed the new deadline and requested an additional 30 days to file those motions.
- July 12, 2022: The defense missed the new deadline again and requested an additional 30 days to file those motions.
- July 18, 2022: At a pretrial status hearing, McBride disclosed his medical condition and asked for a continuance, which was granted.
- September 6, 2022: The defense missed the deadline to file pretrial motions for the fourth time.
- September 16, 2022: The defense requested another deadline extension.
- November 21, 2022: The defense again requested a continuance.
The December 31 filing also noted that the government has multiple out-of-town witnesses that it plans to call during the trial, and that they had previously arranged their schedules to travel to Washington, DC for the December 12 trial date, and who again made arrangements for a January 9 trial start.
“The defendant’s request to continue the trial again, just five business days before the trial is set to begin (and despite learning about the superseding indictment 11 days earlier), wastes government resources, inconveniences multiple witnesses, and would likely conflict with the prosecutors’ schedules,” the response added.
Barnett is charged with: civil disorder, 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.