Sentences set for men charged in January 6 attack on officer Brian Sicknick


A man who admitted to assaulting Brian D. Sicknick with a chemical spray on January 6 before the officer collapsed and died is to be sentenced on Friday – closing one of the most high-profile cases involving attacks on police defending the US Capitol during the uprising.

Julian Khater, 33, pleaded guilty in March to assaulting officers with a dangerous weapon. His charges carry a maximum sentence of 20 years behind bars, but federal guidelines negotiated with prosecutors reduced his likely sentence to between 78 and 97 months — a range, if given, that would still be one of longest prison sentences yet for a Capitol rioter. .

George Tanios, who was with Khater that day, is also due to be sentenced on Friday. Tanios, a childhood friend of Khater, admitted to buying canisters of bear repellent and chemical spray, giving one to Khater, and walking on restricted grounds at the Capitol. His charges carry up to six months in prison; he has already served at least five months.

In court documents filed by prosecutors, Sicknick’s family members gave rare insight into their pain and anger over the deaths of their brother and son – blaming Khater and other rioters , in addition to then-President Donald Trump.

DC’s chief medical examiner previously ruled that Sicknick suffered two strokes and died of natural causes a day after clashing with rioters. Neither Khater nor Tanios, 41, have been charged in his death.

“The rioters who stormed into the Capitol that day, whether or not they were charged with crimes……you are all guilty of Brian’s death,” wrote Gladys Sicknick, the mother of the late officer, in an impact on the victim. statement filed by prosecutors. “I hope you are haunted by your crimes behind bars. Whatever prison sentence you receive is not enough.

Khater could face one of the longest sentences of defendants convicted to date in the January 6 attack. The average sentence for those convicted of assaulting law enforcement officers is more than 48 months, matching the national average for this offense in recent years, according to a Washington Post database and US Sentencing Commission data. The longest January 6 sentence handed down so far was 10 years against retired New York Police Department officer Thomas Webster, who threw a flag pole at police before stalking attacking an officer and removing his gas mask from his face.

Defense attorneys for Khater, in court filings, also blamed Trump.

“A climate of mass hysteria, fueled by the spread of misinformation about the 2020 election from the highest levels, has resulted in a visceral powder keg waiting to ignite,” the lawyers for Kather. Joseph Tacopina, representing Khater, asked in a sentencing memorandum for time served.

The same attorneys represented Kimberly Guilfoyle, fiancée of Donald Trump Jr., before the House committee investigating the attack on the Capitol. Guilfoyle, a Trump fundraiser, spoke at the Jan. 6 rally ahead of the attack, saying “patriots … won’t let them steal this election.”

The lawyers argued that their client’s “conduct on January 6 was not part of an orchestrated plan to attack democracy, but rather was a fleeting and impulsive response to a moment of hysteria fueled by his pre-existing anxiety diagnosed with associated to the powerful influence of a mob mentality. ”

Lawyers said in court papers that Khater’s decision to attack police officers with chemical sprays was the result of “a moment of clouded judgment”. They argued that Khater should be released from prison, where he has been held since March, in part because he left the Capitol after using the spray on police officers and has since shown remorse.

The Post obtained hours of video footage, some exclusively, and placed it into a 3D digital model of the building. (Video: The Washington Post)

Prosecutors, on the other hand, said in court papers that Khater’s “willingness to attack helpless uniformed police and enthusiastically join a violent and unruly mob as he attacked the United States Capitol calls for a long period of incarceration that will reflect the seriousness of his crimes against the police and promote respect for the law.

They said he had yet to ‘sincerely express genuine remorse’ and described his gun attack on officers as contributing to the collapse of the police cordon on the Lower West Terrace, allowing rioters access and to climb the scaffolding supporting the presidential inauguration podium and the stairs leading to the upper west terrace.

Prosecutors also said Khater was “directly responsible” for injuring three police officers: Caroline Edwards; an unnamed DC police officer; and Sicknick. He is accused of spraying Sicknick directly in the face, according to court documents, which caused the officer to retreat to an empty Capitol patio and pour water over his eyes. The chief medical examiner, according to the government’s sentencing memo, said Sicknick engaged with rioters and “everything that happened played a part in his condition.”

“While Julian Khater’s spray assault on Officer Sicknick was ultimately not determined to be the direct cause of his death,” prosecutors said in court papers, “the tragic death of Officer Sicknick, so close in time to the traumatic events of that day, underscores the seriousness of the offense committed by Khater and his fellow rioters.

Tom Jackman contributed to this report.


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