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Barber pleads not guilty to federal charges

This still image from closed-circuit TV at the U.S. Capitol reportedly shows Parkersburg resident Eric Barber taking a selfie in the rotunda, according to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. (File Photo)

WASHINGTON — A former Parkersburg City Councilman pleaded not guilty to charges relating to his alleged entry of the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 breach by protesters.

Eric Barber, 42, appeared Wednesday for his arraignment before U.S. District Court Judge Christopher R. Cooper by video because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Barber’s attorney, Assistant Federal Public Defender Ubong Akpan, entered a plea of not guilty to an information charging her client with 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.

Barber was arrested March 3, nearly two months after he attended a rally in Washington, D.C., where then-President Donald Trump repeated unsubstantiated claims the 2020 presidential election had been stolen through widespread fraud. Protesters marched on the Capitol, storming the building and disrupting the certification of Joe Biden’s electoral victory.

In an interview with The Parkersburg News and Sentinel that day, Barber claimed he got close enough to the building to look in a window but did not enter it.

This still image from closed-circuit TV at the U.S. Capitol reportedly shows Parkersburg resident Eric Barber, nearest the camera, searching through equipment on a stand at the C-SPAN media station, according to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. (File Photo)

A criminal complaint filed Feb. 16 and unsealed on the day of his arrest says photos and security video showed Barber inside the Capitol.

It also claims he stole a portable power station from a C-SPAN media station in the Capitol’s Statuary Hall.

Cooper scheduled a status conference in the case for 10 a.m. May 27.

Barber remains out on a personal recognizance bond.

Evan Bevins can be reached at ebevins@newsandsentinel.com.

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