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Man charged in Capitol riot assault on officer Sicknick pleads guilty to reduced charges

A West Virginia man charged in the chemical spray assault of police officers including the late Brian Sicknick during the Capitol riot pleaded guilty Wednesday to two misdemeanor charges after striking a deal with federal prosecutors.

Driving the news: George Tanios, 40, pleaded guilty in the U.S. District Court in D.C. to entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds and to disorderly and disruptive conduct on restricted grounds, according to his plea agreement.

  • He attended a virtual hearing alongside co-defendant Julian Khater, who was also accused of using chemical spray on the officers as a mob of Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol, per Reuters.

Details: Tanios said in his plea deal that he brought two cans of chemical spray to the U.S. Capitol complex on Jan. 6, 2021, and that he had given one of these to Khater.

  • Video footage from the scene of the insurrection showed the pair “working together to assault law enforcement officers with an unknown chemical substance by spraying officers directly in the face and eyes,” according to an FBI affidavit.
  • Those officers included Sicknick, who had two strokes and died of natural causes the day after the Capitol attack.

What’s next: Tanios is due to be sentenced on Dec. 6 and could face up to six months in prison.

What to watch: Khater’s trial date is set for Oct. 5, though prosecutors said Wednesday that they offered him a plea deal of two felony counts of assaulting federal law enforcement, Reuters reports.

  • The prosecutors’ offer has an expiry date of Aug. 17, but Khater’s attorney has asked for further time to review the potential deal before deciding on it, according to Reuters.

Go deeper… In photos: Police officer Brian Sicknick lies in honor at U.S. Capitol

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