Trump supporter gets six-plus years behind bars for January 6 pepper-spray attack

Trump supporters gather outside the Capitol in Washington before the mass assault on democracy. <i>Photo: Getty</i>

Trump supporters gather outside the Capitol in Washington before the mass assault on democracy. Photo: Getty

The man who carried out a pepper-spray attack on a US Capitol Police officer who died the day after the 2021 riot was sentenced to 80 months in prison on Friday with credit for time already served in pre-trial detention.

Julian Khater, 32, who admitted in a guilty plea he had used the pepper spray against Officer Brian Sicknick and at least two other officers, told US District Judge Thomas Hogan the rash actions he took that day were not in his nature, and he wishes he could take them back.

“I’ve taken every chance I possibly could to better myself as a person,” said Khater, who appeared in court clad in an orange jumpsuit.

“What happened on Jan. 6 – there are no words for it … I wish I could take it back.”

George Tanios, 41, of Morgantown, West Virginia, who travelled to Washington with Khater and supplied the chemical agent Khater used, was sentenced at the same hearing on Friday to time served, after he pleaded guilty last year to misdemeanor charges of disorderly conduct on restricted grounds.

Khater was also ordered to pay a $US10,000 ($A14,000) fine, while Tanios was ordered to serve 100 hours of community service and to use whatever is left of his online legal defence fund to pay a fine.

Courtroom tears

Sicknick, 42, died of a stroke the day after the January 6 riot. Although the medical examiner, Francisco J. Diaz, later attributed his death to natural causes, he told the Washington Post he believed “all that transpired” on January 6, 2021, played a role in his death.

Dozens of uniformed and plain-clothed Capitol Police officers attended the jam-packed sentencing hearing on Friday, which spanned more than four hours. One of the people in attendance left small packets of tissues for police officers to use during the emotionally-charged hearing.

Five of Sicknick’s relatives and Capitol Police Officer Caroline Edwards, who was also a victim of Khater’s pepper spray attack, addressed the court.

“You attacked my son like he was an animal,” said Brian Sicknick’s mother Gladys Sicknick, who wore an oversized long-sleeve shirt that she said belonged to her son. “You are the animal, Mr. Khater.”

Thousands of Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol that day in an attempt to overturn his election loss.

Khater and Tanios are two of the more than 950 people who have been charged in connection with the assault on the Capitol. Four participants died during the chaos and five police officers, including Sicknick, died afterward, some by suicide.


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