Barber plea in Capitol riot rescheduled | News, Sports, Jobs – News and Sentinel – Parkersburg News

Oct 15, 2021
PARKERSBURG — A former Parkersburg City Councilman would plead guilty to two of five misdemeanor charges that arose from his alleged participation in the Jan. 6 breach of the U.S. Capitol under an agreement offered by prosecutors.
But Eric Barber, 42, has yet to sign off on the agreement and a plea hearing has been postponed to December after his attorney requested time to review new discovery materials provided by the government.
Barber has pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor charges of entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds; disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds; disorderly conduct in a Capitol building or grounds; parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building; and theft.
The proposed agreement would have Barber plead guilty to the parading, demonstrating or picketing and theft charges, Assistant U.S. Attorney Brenda Johnson said during a status hearing Thursday in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
Barber participated in the hearing by telephone, and members of the media were able to listen to the proceedings. It was originally scheduled as a plea hearing, but was changed to a status hearing at the request of the defense and moved from the afternoon to Thursday morning.
“I thought we had a deal,” Judge Christopher Cooper said.
Barber’s attorney, Assistant Federal Public Defender Ubong Akpan, said that while she does not know if the additional evidence has any bearing on Barber’s case specifically, she wanted to go over it before a plea was entered.
“I thought it was important for me to at least get a chance to review that,” Akpan said.
Cooper said Akpan knew more discovery material was forthcoming when they scheduled the original plea hearing and asked what had changed.
“It’s another thing to now have access to that information,” she said.
Cooper scheduled the plea hearing for 3 p.m. Dec. 16.
Barber attended a Jan. 6 rally in Washington, D.C., during which then-President Donald Trump repeated unsubstantiated claims that the 2020 presidential election had been stolen. Demonstrators walked to the Capitol, eventually forcing their way inside.
In an interview with The Parkersburg News and Sentinel that day, Barber, who’d lost his bid for a second term on Parkersburg City Council two months prior, said he walked up to the building and looked through windows but did not go inside.
He was arrested in March, with an FBI criminal complaint citing photographic and video evidence they said showed him inside the Capitol, wearing a military-style helmet. Closed circuit video allegedly shows Barber taking a portable power station from a C-SPAN media station. Court documents say the device was recovered from Barber’s house.
Evan Bevins can be reached at ebevins@newsandsentinel.com.
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