Instagram Posts Help FBI Nab Trump-Loving Romance Novel Model Who Beat Capitol Cops

The FBI has arrested Logan Barnhart, whom online sleuths dubbed "CatSweat," with the help of the Sedition Hunters community.
Logan Barnhart, a bodybuilder who has appeared on the cover of multiple romance novels, was arrested for beating police officers at the Capitol on Jan. 6.
Logan Barnhart, a bodybuilder who has appeared on the cover of multiple romance novels, was arrested for beating police officers at the Capitol on Jan. 6.
Illustration: HuffPost; Photos: Getty

When former President Donald Trump sent a tweet early this year promoting Jan. 6 as a “Historic day,” a conspiracy-minded former bodybuilder from Michigan let the president know he had his back.

“I’ll be there,” Logan Barnhart replied to @realDonaldTrump on Twitter.

Now, seven months after the man online sleuths dubbed #CatSweat was photographed dragging a police officer down a set of stairs during the attack on the U.S. Capitol, he has been arrested by the FBI. An official confirmed the arrest to HuffPost Tuesday morning.

Barnhart was charged as part of a superseding indictment returned by a grand jury on Aug. 4 and unsealed on Tuesday.

Barnhart, whom the FBI referred to as Capitol suspect 128-AFO because he was wanted for assaulting federal officers, was a major target for the “Sedition Hunters” community, which had given him the nickname “CatSweat” because he was wearing a sweatshirt branded with the name of Caterpillar, the construction equipment manufacturer. (Barnhart worked as a machine operator for Barnhart & Son Inc., which is owned by his father.)

HuffPost positively identified Barnhart before his arrest based on the work of citizen sleuths months ago, but held off on publishing his name based on his violent history (which included rioting charges when he was a teenager) and because the FBI was working on the case.

A tipping point in the investigation came when the Sedition Hunters uncovered video of Barnhart that showed him without sunglasses during the Trump rally at the White House Ellipse prior to the attack.

That image of Barnhart’s face, plugged into a publicly available facial recognition website, pulled up several other images of Barnhart that are plastered across the internet on bodybuilding websites and photography portfolios.

Photos of a shirtless Barnhart even graced the cover of romance novels with names like “Stepbrother UnSEALed: A Bad Boy Military Romance” and “Lighter,” which included the slogan “wrong never felt so right.”

Barnhart appears on the covers of several romance novels.
Barnhart appears on the covers of several romance novels.
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform/Pure Passion Ink

Yet it was Barnhart’s Instagram account ― where he described himself as a “Pipe Layer\heavy machine operator” and posted right-wing memes alongside shirtless thirst traps ― that sealed the deal. In July 2019, Barnhart posted an image of himself wearing the same American flag hat he’d later wear to the Capitol. And in August 2020, he posted a video of himself at work in a Caterpillar-branded sweatshirt.

Barnhart was a “white whale” for members of the Sedition Hunters community, which sprung to life after Jan. 6. An image from that day shows a man in a hooded “CAT” sweatshirt grabbing onto a D.C. Metropolitan Police Department officer whom he and others are dragging down a set of stairs outside a tunnel on the western side of the U.S. Capitol.

Barnhart made a court appearance on Tuesday afternoon in Michigan. He was assigned a court-appointed attorney. He was released on house arrest and an unsecured $5,000 bond.

The man known as #CatSweat was wanted for assaulting officers at the Capitol.
The man known as #CatSweat was wanted for assaulting officers at the Capitol.
SeditionHunters.org

Several defendants have already been arrested in connection with the attack, including Jack Wade Whitton, who was positioned next to Barnhart and had his hand on the back of the officer’s neck. Barnhart, along with Ronald McAbee, was added to a superseding indictment along with Whitton, Jeffrey Sabol, Peter Stager, Michael Lopatic and Clayton Mullins.

Federal prosecutors said suspects including Whitton and Sabol dragged the officer ― identified by the initials “B.M.” ― down the stairs and into the crowd, where Peter Stager used an American flag on a pole to beat him.

“When asked about the assault, B.M. remembered having his baton grabbed and he was pulled into the crowd,” prosecutors wrote in a court filing arguing for Whitton’s pretrial detention. “Once in the crowd, B.M. recalled being struck in the helmet multiple times with objects. B.M. advised that he believed the crowd attempted to take him as deep into the crowd as possible.”

After participating in the attack on the Capitol, Barnhart continued to post right-wing material on Instagram that dismissed the threat of COVID-19. He posted a video of himself inside a Walmart (where he said he was the only person not wearing a mask) as well as memes about LeBron James and rants about Black Lives Matter.

In February, about a month after taking part in the attack, Barnhart sarcastically mocked the “amazing FBI doing some fine investigative work,” citing a Capitol image that was doctored to include a meme that was included in an FBI affidavit.

“Like I’ve said multiple times. Everything you’re being told about this is a lie and it will be revealed,” Barnhart wrote on Feb. 5. “Sorry but what really happened at the [Capitol] is being hidden from you.”