Julian Khater pleads guilty in Jan. 6 assault of officer Brian Sicknick

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A Pennsylvania man pleaded guilty Thursday to a chemical spray attack 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 smoothie shop from State College, Pa., 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, including charges of rioting and obstructing Congress’ confirmation of Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory. Tanios pleaded guilty on July 27 to reducing the election. felony charge.

Co-defendant in January 6 Sicknick assault case pleads guilty

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

Video released to The Washington Post on April 28 showed the moment when Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick was sprayed by rioter Julian Elie Khater on January 6. (Video: Obtained by The Washington Post)

Khater’s plea resolves one of the most high-profile attacks on police during the Jan. 6 riot, in which nearly 140 defendants were charged with assaulting an officer. Childhood friends Khater, 33, and Tanios, 40, deployed chemical spray against officers who stopped a violent mob on the west terrace of the Capitol, injuring Sicknick and others at a thin point in the police lines.

Sicknick, 42, collapsed hours later and died of natural causes the next day, officials said. Neither Tanios or Khater would have caused Sicknick’s death.

In his plea, Tanios admitted to bringing both bear and pepper spray to Washington and giving one canister to Khater before their arrival at the Capitol.

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

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

Khater admitted to using pepper close range spray into the faces of Sicknick, Capitol Police Officer Caroline Edwards and a DC Police Officer identified as B. Chapman of the Police Line, forcing them to vacate their posts. During a hearing, prosecutors alleged that Khater went on to spray a second group before being repelled by a police lieutenant who fired a chemical irritant at him using a “Super Soaker”-type device.

“Give me that bear,” Khater told Tanios on 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 metal bike racks, police said. plead.

“Wait a minute, not yet, not yet … it is still early,” Tanios is said to have replied.

Video released to The Washington Post on April 28 showed the moment Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick was sprayed by rioter Julian Elie Khater on January 6. (Video: Obtained by The Washington Post)

In indictment papers, an FBI agent said the exchange revealed that the two “worked in concert and had a plan to use the poisonous spray against law enforcement.” The officer claimed that Khater “appeared to coincide the use of chemicals with the efforts of other rioters to forcibly remove the bicycle rack barriers that prevented rioters from getting closer to the Capitol.”

Tanios’ lawyer has argued that his client was 10 meters away from Khater when he sprayed the officers and did not aid or incite any crime.

Khater attorney Joseph Tacopina has said his client never coordinated or planned to attack police and never entered the Capitol.

“It wasn’t a plan. It was in response to the police spraying, Tacopina said. “He used a defensive spray.”

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

Battle for the West Terrace: Capitol Riot Charges Reveal Details of Police Attacks on Jan. 6

Khater and Tanios were arrested in March 2021. At a hearing last year in which Khater’s arrest was ordered pending trial, U.S. District Judge Thomas F. Hogan said videos of the attacks on the three officers showed a degree of premeditation and potential for future danger.

“These two gentlemen are law-abiding, respected individuals in the community, and it makes it very difficult for the court to reach this conclusion, but they still carried out this attack on uniformed police officers. I can’t get around that,” Hogan said at the time.

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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