Man Accused in Jan. 6 Assault on Officer Pleads Guilty to Lesser Charges
A West Virginia man accused of participating in a high-profile attack on Officer Brian D. Sicknick during the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol last year pleaded guilty to two charges on Wednesday after reaching a deal with federal prosecutors.
The man, George Tanios, was initially charged with working with a friend, Julian Khater, to dousing Officer Sicknick with chemical spray at a key moment in the riot, when a pro-Trump mob rushed police at the bike rack barriers. on the west side of the Capitol.
While early reports suggested Officer Sicknick died of his injuries a day after the attack, an autopsy later determined that he had died of natural causes after suffering multiple strokes not directly related to the violence at the Capitol.
At a hearing in federal court in Washington, Mr. Tanios, 40, pleaded guilty to one count of illegally trespassing a restricted area and a second count of disorderly conduct after prosecutors dropped charges against him. He will receive a maximum sentence of one year in prison for each of the violations during a procedure scheduled for December.
While Officer Sicknick’s death ultimately had nothing to do with the mob attack on the Capitol, his death became a symbol of the violence that many other officers endured on January 6. of them seriously.
In court documents filed last year, Mr. Tanios accused of having a can of chemical spray in his backpack when he and Mr. Khater marched with the crowd to the Capitol. Prosecutors said that while Mr. Khater the spray from Mr. Tanios took, Mr. Tanios told him, “Wait a minute, wait a minute, not yet, not yet”, adding: “It is still early.”
Minutes later, prosecutors say, Mr. Khater approached the row of barricades outside the Capitol and released the spray on Officer Sicknick and two of his colleagues, who were five feet away. The officers immediately withdrew from the line, court papers say, and ran to look for water to rinse their eyes.
The Justice Department has also made a plea offer to Mr Khater, although he is expected to plead guilty to two separate offenses of assaulting police officers. Under the terms of the offer, which Mr Khater has not yet accepted, he would face a prison term of 78 to 97 months.