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Romance novel cover model who dragged Capitol officer on Jan. 6 sentenced to 3 years in prison

Online sleuths ID'd Logan Barnhart, a Trump fan who dragged a Capitol Police officer down the stairs and attacked officers in the western tunnel.

WASHINGTON — A former bodybuilder and romance novel cover model who dragged a police officer down the stairs of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 was sentenced in federal court to three years in prison Thursday.

Logan Barnhart, 42, of Michigan, was identified by online sleuths who used facial recognition to turn up images of him at bodybuilding competitions. He was arrested in August 2021.

Barnhart pleaded guilty in September to assaulting, resisting or impeding certain officers using a dangerous weapon.

“During the course of this attack, Barnhart grabbed an officer’s neck and torso and dragged him in a prone position from the police line, out of the Archway, and down a set of stairs into the violent mob, where the officer was further attacked with weapons, including a flagpole and a baton, and sustained physical injuries,” prosecutors wrote.

“Minutes later," they continued, "Barnhart returned to the police line in the Archway where other rioters were assaulting the line of officers by slamming riot shields into them, striking them, and throwing objects at them. Barnhart joined these rioters in charging against the police line. Barnhart then approached the line of officers wielding a flagpole and used it to strike the officers.”

Logan Barnhart at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
Logan Barnhart at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.Dept. of Justice

Members of the "Sedition Hunters" community initially dubbed Barnhart #CatSweat because he wore a Caterpillar-branded sweatshirt during the attack. (Barnhart is a pipe layer who previously worked for Barnhart & Son Inc., which his father owned.)

After they turned up images of Barnhart from his bodybuilding days, they were able to confirm his identity because they found images of him wearing the sweatshirt and the hat he was wearing on Jan. 6, 2021, in other social media posts.

Online investigators also found that a shirtless Barnhart had been on the cover of several romance novels, including “Stepbrother UnSEALed: A Bad Boy Military Romance," “Lighter” (which included the slogan “wrong never felt so right") and "Crash and Burn."

A search also turned up a tweet Barnhart sent ahead of the Capitol attack. “I’ll be there,” Barnhart replied to a @realDonaldTrump tweet about the former president's Jan. 6 rally.

In a letter to the officer Barnhart dragged down the stairs, U.S. Capitol Police Officer Morris Moore, Barnhart wrote that he offered his "deepest and most sincere apology" and said he'd gone through "depression, stress and anxiety" as a result of his actions that day.

"I didn't brag or boast about my actions to anyone. In fact, I withheld the truth from all my friends and family. I knew they would all be ashamed of what I did and for good reason," Barnhart wrote.

"I consider Police officers to be the pinnacle of blue-collar workers. The people that make this great country what it is. I have often fantasized, from my youth to present day, about what it would be like to be a police officer or detective. I've always imagined it as being extremely exciting and rewarding. Surely more exciting than putting pipe in the ground," he wrote.

He added that he tried to forget his conduct after Jan. 6.

"I had spent months trying to forget what had happened. Putting a face and name to the person I assaulted was devastating. You are a police officer I respected as an authority figure and a man I respect as a hard working blue-collar worker that puts his safety at risk to protect me while I do my job," Barnhart wrote. "I hope one day we can all put aside our petty differences that seem to be tearing our beautiful country apart."

After his sentencing, Barnhart told NBC News he was sorry for his actions. He said he didn't have an opinion now about whether the 2020 election was stolen.

"If there's anything I've learned from all this, it's that there's a lot more to life than politics, there's a lot more to life than being on social media," Barnhart said.

"I was ashamed of everything as soon as it happened," Barnhart said.

The Justice Department sought more than five years in federal prison.