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UPDATE: Barber pleads not guilty to Capitol riot charges

Published: Jan. 6, 2021 at 8:59 PM EST|Updated: Mar. 3, 2021 at 6:31 PM EST
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UPDATE: 3/31/21

Court documents show former Parkersburg City Council member Eric Barber has pleaded not guilty to five charges related to the U.S. Capitol riots.

Barber was arraigned Wednesday before Judge Christopher Cooper, where he pleaded not guilty to entering and remaining on restricted grounds, disorderly conduct on restricted grounds, disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, parading in the Capitol building, and theft.

He is due in court at 10 a.m. May 27 for a status conference.

Until then, Barber has been released on his own recognizance.

He appeared in court Wednesday via video call.

UPDATE: 3/24/21

Eric Barber, the former Parkersburg City Councilman charged with multiple crimes related to the January 6 Capitol riots, has been assigned a new federal public defender.

Court documents show Assistant Federal Public Defender Ubong Akpan will handle Barber’s case going forward.

Barber is set to appear before Judge Christopher R. Cooper for an arraignment on March 31 at noon.

We’ll have coverage on air and online.

UPDATE: 3/19/21 6:06 P.M.

Former Parkersburg City Council member Eric Barber was formally charged with five crimes in an information (a formal set of charges issued by a government official) handed down by the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia on Thursday.

Barber is now officially charged with entering and remaining on restricted grounds, disorderly conduct on restricted grounds, disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, parading in the Capitol building, and theft.

In the details of more than one of the five criminal charges, Barber is accused of purposefully disrupting government business. In the theft count, Barber is accused of stealing a ZAGG Powerstation from a C-SPAN media station in Statuary Hall.

Barber has already appeared in federal court to answer a criminal complaint also related to the Capitol riot. In the complaint, Barber is accused of similar crimes, including taking a portable charging station from a media stand.

Barber told WTAP when he appeared in federal court, that he made mistakes on January 6 and was prepared to take responsibility for his actions.

You can read more about this developing story below.

3/3/21 6:30 P.M.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WTAP) - Former Parkersburg City Council member Eric Barber was released on a $10,000 unsecured bond Wednesday afternoon following a hearing in U.S. District Court to address charges against him in connection with the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

The unsecured bond means Barber could be released without posting money or property as collateral.

During the hearing in U.S. District Court in Charleston, a judge scheduled a preliminary hearing for Barber for 1 p.m. March 10. He will appear by video before U.S. Magistrate Judge Zia M. Faruqui in the District of Columbia.

Barber released a statement to WTAP after the hearing on Wednesday.

“Many mistakes were made by many different people on the 6th ... myself included,” he said. “I”m prepared to accept the the consequences of my mistake and accept responsibility for my actions. At this time, I want to apologize to those who have supported me as a politician, including the GOP. At this time, I’d like to request prayers on my family’s behalf, myself and for our nation to experience a time of healing and unity moving forward.”

The conditions of Barber’s release prohibit him from possessing a firearm and limits his travel to places in the Southern District of West Virginia. He is not prohibited from going to Washington D.C. for purposes related to his case.

According to documents filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., Barber, who represented District 4 on city council before he was defeated in the November general election, is accused of unlawful activities on Capitol grounds, disorderly conduct, and parading and demonstrating in the Capitol building.

There is also a theft charge based on closed-circuit television images that indicates Barber unplugged and stole what was believed to be a portable power station from a C-SPAN media stand.

A criminal complaint filed Feb. 16 in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., details Barber’s alleged involvement in the Jan. 6 events at the Capitol. The FBI received at least seven tips implicating Barber, the complaint said.

Read the initial complaint here.

UPDATE: 3/3/21 3:45 P.M.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WTAP) - A federal court hearing has been scheduled for Wednesday afternoon in Charleston for former Parkersburg City Council member Eric Barber, who is facing charges in connection with the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

According to documents filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., Barber, who represented District 4 on city council before he was defeated in the November general election, is accused of unlawful activities on Capitol grounds, disorderly conduct, and parading and demonstrating in the Capitol building. There is also a theft charge.

WTAP has not been able to confirm whether Barber is in custody, but an arrest warrant was issued by the court, and court documents show a hearing is scheduled for 4 p.m. Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Charleston.

The records also indicate that federal Public Defender Rhett H. Johnson has been assigned to represent Barber at the hearing.

A criminal complaint filed Feb. 16 in the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., details Barber’s alleged involvement in the Jan. 6 events at the Capitol. The FBI received at least seven tips implicating Barber, the complaint said.

One of the tips said Barber did a live stream via Facebook showing himself at the Capitol. In addition, Barber discussed his involvement with WTAP after the event.

The complaint also contains multiple photos of Barber that appear to have been taken outside the Capitol.

Barber, himself, did not show any pictures of himself inside the building, the complaint said.

This is a developing story. We will have more details online and during WTAP News as more information becomes available.

ORIGINAL STORY

PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - A former Parkersburg City Councilman watched firsthand Wednesday as Capitol Police did little to stop protesters as they ran through Congress.

Eric Barber, who used to represent District 4 on Parkersburg City Council, was in Washington D.C. to see President Trump speak to supporters at a rally. Barber said that rally began as a peaceful march up the Capitol complex before turning into destructive protests.

The former city councilman said the doors to the Capitol had already been breached when he got there from the original rally. He said there were riot police in the area, but Capitol Police were doing very little to stop protesters from entering the building.

“Every step of the way, from my view, the Capitol Police were observing what was happening and was doing absolutely nothing to stop it,” Barber said. “When those windows were being broken, there were officers 15 feet away with their hands in their pockets, just watching.”

“I think at any point the Capitol Police could have stopped what was happening, but they just didn’t.”

He also says that some officers told protesters who were climbing the walls of the Capitol that others had already broken through and that there was no reason to risk injury scaling the wall.

Barber went on to say that officers might have felt outnumbered, but he doesn’t know for sure why they didn’t do more.

Barber, a self-described Trump supporter, said the rally got out of hand because of pent-up anger brought on by the 2020 Election.

“There was clear evidence of election tampering. There’s a lot of stuff, it doesn’t take an election specialist to see, that stuff was wrong,” Barber said.. “There’s a lot of Americans out there, myself included, that think at best this election was tampered with, and you know, really, was stolen. There’s a lot of people upset about that.”

Barber said the vast majority of Trump supporters did not indulge in destructive, “riotous” behaviors during Wednesday’s events.

“When conservatives finally had enough and was deciding to stand up, people were going to know it. And they know it now. But, I don’t think it should have went to the point of storming the People’s House, that was going to a little too far,” said Barber.

Barber said that people on the lawn were teargassed during the protests, including children. He said they did not deserve to be gassed, especially while protesters were running amuck in the Capitol.

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