Bear Spray Using Capitol Rioter Taken Down By Feds, Faces 8+ Years

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A Capitol riot participant who assaulted the late Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick, who died very soon after helping with the defense of the Capitol against rampaging Trump supporters, is facing the potential of up to eight years in prison — or more.

The rioter is Julian Khater, who sprayed bear spray at officers including Sicknick, as a CNN report explains it. Amid a hearing this week dealing with a guilty plea from Khater’s co-defendant, George Tanios, prosecutors indicated they’d extended a plea offer to Khater that would leave him facing advisory sentencing guidelines of 78 to 97 months, meaning he could face anywhere from six and a half to over eight years in prison — although federal judges dealing with these matters are permitted to go outside the parameters in sentencing guidelines. According to CNN, the plea agreement prosecutors offered Khater would entail him admitting to two charges of assaulting police with a dangerous weapon — an offense that ordinarily carries up to 20 years in prison.

Should Khater opt for trial and be found guilty there — as every riot defendant who’s gone to jury trial has — he’d no doubt face the potential of substantial jail-time above those advisory guidelines available with the plea offer. The low end of the range for Khater’s potential sentencing guidelines would be above the longest jail sentence imposed so far on any Capitol rioter. Two defendants — D.C. man Mark Ponder and Florida man Robert Palmer — were both sentenced by federal Judge Tanya Chutkan to 63 months, or a little over five years, in prison. Both assaulted police at the Capitol. Soon (on August 1) the first rioter found guilty at jury trial, Texas man Guy Reffitt, will be sentenced. U.S. prosecutors asked for a sentence of 15 years, seeking an assessment of Reffitt’s actions as terrorist in nature. Reffitt’s defense asked for a sentence below the relevant advisory guidelines. Reffitt carried a firearm and plastic cuffs in D.C., providing apparent physical evidence he was ready to take hostages.

Sicknick was determined to have died of natural causes, although the D.C. medical examiner, Francisco Diaz, clarified “all that transpired played a role in his condition” — which would include the events at the Capitol. Tanios, the co-defendant of Khater’s, brought bear spray to the Capitol that Khater used in the assault. Capitol Police officer Caroline Edwards told the House committee investigating the Capitol riot some of what happened to Sicknick. “He was ghostly pale, which I figured at that point that he had been sprayed, and I was concerned,” Edwards said to committee investigators. “My cop alarm bells went off because if you get sprayed with pepper spray, you’re going to turn red. He turned just about as pale as this sheet of paper.”

The House riot committee also recently spotlighted a piece of remarkable evidence from the immediate aftermath of the riot: an apparently originally printed copy of remarks put together for the then-president to say the next day. The document features handwritten alterations from Trump, who crossed out a simple, straightforward message calling for the rioters’ prosecution. That’s what Trump stands for heading into the next presidential election cycle, in which he at this point very well could run again: political violence. His claims of getting blocked by Nancy Pelosi in some valiant plan to protect the Capitol with National Guard troops are false and a farce. There was never any presidential order for thousands of troops.