Chief Judge Beryl Howell of the DC District Court in Washington ruled that a man who had bragged about putting his feet on a desk in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office should stay in jail as he awaits trial as he scorched Capitol riot suspects during a hearing on Thursday, calling their actions an assault on American democracy.
“This was not a peaceful protest. Hundreds of people came to Washington, DC, to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power,” Judge Howell said in the hourlong hearing for Capitol riot defendant Richard Barnett on Thursday.
Howell’s decision on Barnett marks the first ruling in an appeal from the Justice Department after a magistrate judge out of Washington denied its request to keep a Capitol riot suspect in jail. At least four others are awaiting rulings from district judges in Washington after appeals.
Howell made clear she believes the crowd was trying to thwart the federal legislative branch from carrying out its duties.
“We’re still living here in Washington, DC, with the consequences of the violence that this defendant is alleged to have participated in,” she said.
“Just outside this courthouse … are visible reminders of the January 6 riot and assault on the Capitol,” the judge said, noting that she can see National Guard troops from the window in her chambers in the courthouse.