Man charged with assaulting Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick set to plead 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, is expected to plead guilty to reduced charges on Wednesday, court filings show. .

West Virginia sandwich shop owner George Tanios has been charged by criminal information Wednesday morning with two counts of trespassing and disorderly conduct on restricted Capitol grounds, a reduction from an earlier 10-count indictment that included riot felony charges, of assaulting law enforcement officers and obstructing Congressional certification of President Biden’s 2020 election victory.

A plea hearing for Tanios was set for 2 p.m. Wednesday in federal court in Washington. A plea is not final until it is accepted by a judge, and Tanios can change his mind at any time until then.

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.

It could not be immediately determined whether Tanios would plead guilty under a cooperative agreement with prosecutors. In April, defense attorneys for the two co-defendants said they were working plea deals with the government by successfully asking U.S. District Judge Thomas F. Hogan to postpone a trial until July to allow more time. to the talks.

Khater is still to be tried on October 5.

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Attorneys for Tanios, of Morgantown, W.Va., and Khater, of State College, Pa., did not immediately comment.

“We generally don’t comment beyond public documents and court filings and have no comment,” said Bill Miller, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington, which oversees prosecutions in the US attorney’s cases. Capitol Riots.

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

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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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.

Prosecutors in the detention hearings alleged that Khater sprayed a canister that Tanios had purchased and carried to the Capitol in his backpack, deploying it at close range against Sicknick, US Capitol Police Officer Caroline Edwards and a police officer of DC identified as B. Chapman of the line police, neutralizing them.

“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’ attorney, Elizabeth Gross, argued he was 30ft 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.

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