Jan. 6 Rioter Accused of Attacking Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick Pleads Guilty

George Tanios, who bought two cans of pepper spray and two cans of pepper spray before the riot, faces up to a year behind bars according to his plea agreement, which was read aloud in court on Wednesday. He will be sentenced in December.

According to court documents, Tanios brought bear spray to the Capitol that day, which his co-defendant, Julian Khater, used to assault a row of officers, including Sicknick.

The Washington, D.C. Chief Medical Examiner determined that Sicknick suffered multiple strokes and died of natural causes on January 7, 2021. Medical Examiner Francisco Diaz told The Washington Post at the time that the attack of the Capitol and “everything that happened played a role in his condition.”

In a video recorded that day and cited by the government, Khater can be heard saying, “Give me that bear**t.”

“Wait, wait, not yet, not yet… it’s still early,” Tanios said, before Khater approached a line of officers, including Sicknick, with the spray, according to court documents. Khater’s lawyers argued that he only attacked officers after he was sprayed first.

Tanios and Khater were initially charged with 10 counts, including conspiracy to obstruct or injure officers and assaulting officers with a dangerous weapon. At Wednesday’s hearing, prosecutors said they offered Khater a plea deal that would require him to plead guilty to two counts of assaulting police with a dangerous weapon.

If accepted, Khater’s sentencing guidelines would range from 78 to 97 months, one of the heaviest sentences a Capitol rioter who pleaded guilty has received.

The case has drawn political attention in recent months, particularly during public hearings held by the House Select Committee investigating the January 6, 2021, attack.

When Caroline Edwards, a United States Capitol police officer who was attacked with chemical spray alongside Sicknick, testified before the committee, she recalled the moment she saw Sicknick hold her head in her hands after being sprayed.

“He was ghostly pale, which I thought at the time had been sprayed on, and I was worried,” she told the committee in June. “My cop sounded the alarm because if you get pepper sprayed you’re going to turn red. He turned about as pale as this sheet of paper.”

Sicknick’s family was also present at the hearing that evening.

George Tanios

During Thursday’s prime-time hearing, Representative Elaine Luria detailed a Jan. 9, 2021, conversation about Sicknick’s death and former President Donald Trump’s days-long silence on the matter between two major Trump campaign officials.

“Also shitty for not acknowledging the death of the Capitol Police officer,” Tim Murtaugh, Trump’s former communications director, wrote to Matthew Wolking, one of Murtaugh’s deputies.

Wolking responded, saying he was furious and that everything Trump said about supporting law enforcement “was a lie.”

“You know what it is, of course if he acknowledged the dead cop he would implicitly blame the mob. And he won’t because they are his people,” Murtaugh replied, adding that if Trump acknowledged Sicknick’s death, it could imply the acceptance that “what he ignited at the rally got out of control”.

CNN’s Hannah Rabinowitz contributed to this report.

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