Julian Khater pleads guilty in January 6 assault on officer Brian Sicknick

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A Pennsylvania man pleaded guilty Thursday to a chemical spraying assault on three police officers during the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol attack, including Brian D. Sicknick, who later collapsed and died the following day.

In a plea deal with federal prosecutors, Julian Khater, owner of a State College, Pennsylvania smoothie shop, admitted to assaulting and injuring law enforcement officers with a dangerous weapon. Along with co-defendant George Tanios, Khater had faced a 10-count indictment that included felony charges of rioting and obstructing congressional confirmation of Joe Biden’s election victory in 2020. Tanios pleaded guilty July 27 to reduced misdemeanor charges.

Co-defendant in Sicknick’s Jan. 6 assault case pleads guilty

Khater pleaded guilty to charges carrying up to 20 years in prison, but faces a probable sentence of 78 to 97 months in accordance with federal guidelines negotiated with prosecutors. He has spent 17 months behind bars since his arrest and will be sentenced on December 13.

Video published in The Washington Post on April 28 shows the moment Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick was doused by rioter Julian Elie Khater on January 6. (Video: obtained by The Washington Post)

Khater’s plea resolves one of the most publicized attacks on police during the Jan. 6 riot, in which nearly 140 defendants were charged with felony assault on an officer. Childhood friends Khater, 33, and Tanios, 40, deployed chemical spray against officers holding back a violent crowd on the West Terrace of the Capitol, injuring Sicknick and others at a thin point in police lines.

Sicknick, 42, collapsed hours later and died the next day of natural causes, officials said. Neither Tanios nor Khater would have caused Sicknick’s death.

In his plea, Tanios admitted to bringing both pepper spray and pepper spray to Washington and giving Khater a canister before they arrived on Capitol Hill.

Tanios’ plea deal did not require him to cooperate with prosecutors, although he admitted he had no information to dispute or refute the allegations against Khater in the indictment. .

More than 840 suspects have been charged in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot

Khater admitted to deploying pepper spraying point-blank range into the faces of Sicknick, Capitol Police Officer Caroline Edwards, and a DC police officer identified as B. Chapman from the police line, forcing them to abandon their posts. During a bail hearing, prosecutors alleged that Khater moved to spray a second group before being pushed back by a police lieutenant who shot him with a chemical irritant using a type device. “Super Soaker”.

“Give me that bear sh–,” Khater told Tanios in video recorded nine minutes earlier, at 2:14 p.m. on the lower west terrace of the Capitol, where Sicknick and other officers stood guard behind bike racks. metal, according to the plea.

“Wait, wait, not yet, not yet… it’s still early,” Tanios reportedly replied.

Video published in The Washington Post on April 28 shows the moment Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick was doused by rioter Julian Elie Khater on January 6. (Video: obtained by The Washington Post)

In the charging documents, an FBI agent said the exchange showed the two were “working together and had a plan to use the toxic spray against law enforcement.” The agent claimed that Khater “appeared to time the deployment of chemicals to coincide with efforts by other rioters to forcibly remove bike rack barriers that were preventing rioters from approaching the Capitol building.”

Tanios’ lawyer argued that his client was 30 feet from Khater when he sprayed the officers and did not aid or abet any crime.

Khater’s attorney, Joseph Tacopina, said his client never coordinated or planned to attack police and never entered the Capitol building.

“It wasn’t a plan. It was a reaction” to being sprayed by police, Tacopina said. “He used a defensive spray.”

Sicknick had two strokes after his time on Capitol Hill that day, officials said. The medical examiner said an autopsy found no evidence that Sicknick suffered from an allergic reaction to chemical irritants. There was also no evidence of internal or external injuries, the medical examiner said.

Battle for the West Terrace: Capitol riot charges reveal details of January 6 police attacks

Khater and Tanios were arrested in March 2021. In a hearing last year ordering Khater’s detention pending trial, U.S. District Judge Thomas F. Hogan said videos of the assaults on the three officers showed a degree of premeditation and the potential for future danger.

“These two gentlemen are law-abiding and respected individuals in the community, and it is very difficult for the court to draw that conclusion, but they still committed this attack on uniformed police officers. I can’t find a way around it,” Hogan said at the time.


Washington

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