by WorldTribune Staff, August 4, 2021
The defense attorney for Richard Barnett, the Arkansas man who famously posed for a picture with his feet up on a desk in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office during the Jan. 6 Capitol Hill unrest, says the federal government is bullying its way to a “terrorism” prosecution of those arrested over the events of that day in flagrant violation of Constitutional norms.
“The Federal Government has a disgusting habit of exaggerating, and straight up lying to the Court and to the public on a regular basis,” New York City lawyer Joseph McBride told independent journalist Michael Tracey in an interview released Aug. 2.
“Because the Federal Government, in particular the FBI and Department of Justice, have no check over it. There is no one to say, ‘Hey, you can’t do that.’”
McBride said Barnett was painted as a menace to public safety without a shred of evidence to justify such a description:
They fabricated a story about his past, saying that he had a criminal past, when he in fact has no criminal past. They said that because one event happened — and somebody might have accused him of doing something else in the past — while not arising to the level of criminal conduct, is certainly indicative of somebody who’s dangerous.
McBride also pointed out the loaded use of the term “insurrectionist” to conjure a threat where none exists:
Now as to the overall theme of that day, they are labeling it an insurrection and calling every protester who went there an insurrectionist — despite the fact that the vast majority of people who went there had no prior knowledge of any violence or any type of entry that was going to take place. Despite the fact that no person charged in connection with the events of that day — over 500 people charged — nobody’s been charged with insurrection. If nobody has been charged with insurrection, what the hell are you using the term for?
You’re using the term to invoke fear. You’re using the term the same way that the post-9/11 George Bush White House said, ‘these people are terrorists.’ It’s to invoke fear.
This leads to innocent citizens being subjected to a harsh and wholly unfair prosecution, he asserted:
This is a carefully designed ploy to provoke people’s emotions, to get people to go into a frenzy of anger and anxiety, and go down whatever rabbit hole they want to go down — and while doing so, forgo additional constitutional rights. What rights are we forgoing now? We’re forgoing the Constitution, the Bail Reform Act. We’re saying despite the fact that these people are American citizens, because they committed insurrection — “insurrection” in air quotes — they should be treated like terrorists. It is wrong, it is troubling. It should not be happening. It is purposeful, and it needs to stop.
McBride said his client told him of the horrifying conditions he and his fellow defendants are facing inside D.C. Jail:
Richard summarized the conditions as cruel and unusual. Inhumane, designed to break your spirit, to break your mind, and to infect the deepest part of your soul. So you’ll just give up and give in. The physical conditions of the place are abhorrent. They call it the “Patriot Wing.” But it is a previously defunct part of that jail and had not been used in some time. They opened it up specifically for January Sixers. It’s got brown water, it’s got black mold, it’s got poor ventilation. I mean, you name it, there’s something wrong with it. The day-to-day activity is terrible. Guys are locked up for 23 hours a day on a regular basis. Sometimes they have a couple hours a day here and there, if they’re really, really good, if something special is going on.
Disturbingly, McBride discussed the case of Paul Hodgkins. Tracey wrote that “[t]hough he only pleaded guilty to a single count of ‘obstruction of an official proceeding,’ defendant Paul Hodgkins — whose criminal act entailed milling around the Senate chamber for approximately 15 minutes — nonetheless found himself branded a ‘terrorist’ in open court by the US Government.”
McBride described how the feds use plea bargains obtained amid all this stress, duress and abject fear of long prison sentences to buttress that which they cannot prove: a completely bogus “terrorist” designation of an event and all who took part in it:
So when you are taking a plea, you’ve cut a deal. And you are sort of beholden to the Court and to the Government in that moment. Generally, the Government makes an accurate record of what has happened and then you plead for mercy from the Court.
The Government inappropriately, but very intentionally, used that as an opportunity to hit where it knew that the defendant could not possibly hit back — because if he did, he would come off as aggressive or breaking the terms of the plea, or unrepentant or whatever, and possibly get banged with more time. So having that knowledge, the Government used the opportunity to advance the narrative — the unjustified, illegal theory — that this was an act of terror. And while it said it couldn’t prove it, it laid out the framework and the foundation, because if you’re calling this guy a terrorist, what are you going to say to those who broke a window or pushed a cop? Or whatever they did. You’re damn certain they’re going to call those people actual terrorists, and they’re going to actually make the case for it.
“They’re the biggest bully in the schoolyard — unless the case gets to the Supreme Court, they’re not going to get slapped down,” McBride said of the FBI and DOJ.