Man charged with assaulting Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick pleads guilty

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One of two men charged on January 6, 2021 with chemical spraying assault on three police officers at the United States Capitol, including Brian D. Sicknick, pleaded guilty to reduced charges on Wednesday.

West Virginia sandwich shop owner George Tanios, 40, admitted two counts of trespassing and disorderly conduct on restricted Capitol grounds, a reduction from an earlier indictment of 10 counts which included felony charges of rioting, assaulting law enforcement officers and obstructing Congressional certification of President Biden’s 2020 election victory.

The guidelines call for a sentence of up to a year behind bars; he has already served five months. He will be sentenced on December 6.

The case of Tanios and his co-defendant Julian Elie Khater is among the most high-profile prosecutions on Jan. 6, as both men were charged with assaulting Capitol Police Officer Sicknick, 42. Sicknick was injured while trying to hold back a violent crowd on the West Terrace of the Capitol, collapsing hours later and dying the next day of natural causes, officials said. Neither Tanios nor Khater would have caused Sicknick’s death.

In the plea, Tanios admitted to bringing two canisters of chemical spray to Washington and giving one to Khater before he arrived at the Capitol. During the riot, according to the plea, Khater dug into Tanios’ backpack to retrieve a bear spray can. Later, Tanios filmed other rioters fighting the police.

In a statement, Tanios’ attorney, Assistant Federal Advocate Elizabeth B. Gross, said, “The parties here have worked diligently to reach a just and fair resolution without a trial. The proposed misdemeanor charges better reflect the limited actions of George Tanios on January 6, 2021, while outside the US Capitol.

A signed plea agreement does not mention that Tanios will cooperate with prosecutors, although in the plea documents he admitted “he has no information to dispute or refute the allegations set out in the indictment against his co-defendant, Julian Khater, in any way.” .”

Khater is still to be tried on October 5. In court, the lawyers said they were discussing whether Khater would agree to plead guilty to two counts of assaulting a law enforcement officer with a dangerous weapon.

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Khater and Tanios, who ran smoothies and sandwich shops in their respective college towns, were arrested in March 2021 and had pleaded not guilty to the assaults on Sicknick, another Capitol Police officer and a DC officer.

Prosecutors in the detention hearings alleged that Khater deployed the spray at point-blank range against Sicknick, U.S. Capitol Police officer Caroline Edwards and a DC police officer identified as B. Chapman from the police line, the neutralizing.

“Give me that bear sh–,” Khater allegedly told Tanios in video recorded nine minutes earlier, at 2:14 p.m. on the Capitol’s Lower West Terrace, where Sicknick and other officers stood guard behind bike racks. in metal, according to charge papers.

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

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

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.

Khater has been imprisoned since then, but an appeals court in August ordered Tanios’ release, saying he had ‘no prior felony convictions, no links to extremist organizations and no criminal behavior after January 6. who would otherwise show it are a danger to the community.

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U.S. District Judge Thomas F. Hogan previously ordered the two men detained pending trial, saying government videos of the assaults on the three officers showed a degree of premeditation and future dangerousness.

“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.

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