The accused Capitol rioter seen propping up his feet on a desk inside House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office is selling autographed pictures of himself to help pay for legal fees — but not that photo.
Richard “Bigo” Barnett, 60, of Gravette, Arkansas, was arrested just two days after the infamous picture was snapped amid the chaos of supporters of then-President Donald Trump storming the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
On Thursday, visitors to the “Richard ‘Bigo’ Barnett Legal Defense Fund” website were told that if they donated $100 or more, as “a token of his appreciation,” the accused rioter “will send you a picture of him with his feet up on a desk while on house arrest.”
However, various news outlets, including The Washington Post, reported this week that Barnett was making this $100 donation pitch: “Richard will send you an autographed picture of him sitting in Pelosi’s office personally addressed to whomever you like.”
The subtle change in photo offering suggests that Barnett’s legal team feared sale of the Jan. 6 image would expose him to a copyright infringement claim, NBC News legal analyst Danny Cevallos said.
“If I was his lawyer I would tell him, if you don’t want to be sued, shoot your own photo and you’ll be in the free and clear,” Cevallos said. “You won’t run into any trouble.”
Selling that Jan. 6 picture could also anger a judge, which is never sound strategy, the legal analyst added.
“A judge wouldn’t look kindly on any of this, but at least (with an original, homemade picture) you won’t be using Exhibit 1 of what would be evidence of a crime,” Cevallos said.
The image of Barnett was shot by Agence France-Presse photographer Saul Loeb and is being distributed by Getty Images. Loeb, AFP and Getty could all possibly have copyright claims if that image were being sold or marketed without their permission.
Barnett’s lawyer, the photographer, wire service and distributor all could not be immediately reached for comment on Thursday.
Matthew Mulligan contributed.