Washington – A New Jersey man admitted to spraying a US Capitol Police officer Brian Cicnick In addition Pepper spray during January 6, 2021, Capital Attack Ciknik was sentenced Friday to 80 months in prison in a Washington, DC courtroom packed with his colleagues and fellow officers.
“I don’t know what got inside you,” Federal Judge Thomas Hogan said as he sentenced Julian Khatter to years in prison, adding, “Somehow you decided to push your way through the crowd.”
Hogan fined Khater $10,000.
Cynic Died of natural causes The DC medical examiner’s office announced last year, a day after the Capitol was rescued during the Jan. 6 attack. He suffered a stroke, citing the summary of the medical examiner’s report as “acute cerebral and cerebellar infarcts due to acute basilar artery thrombosis”.
Friday’s sentencing hearing drew busloads of other US Capitol Police officers who wanted to honor their fallen colleague.
According to court documents and Julian Khater’s plea agreement, he and codefendant George Tanios — who pleaded guilty to lesser charges — traveled from West Virginia to Washington, DC to attend the former’s appearance. President Donald Trump’s rally on the White House Ellipse.
The pair moved away from the rally grounds toward the Capitol, although investigators did not uncover any evidence that they had planned to riot that day.
“Surveillance video shows Khater reaching into Tanios’ backpack and retrieving one of the chemical spray canisters he brought to Washington,” the government alleged in a pre-sentence memo, describing Khater as angry, emotional and out of control.
After making his way to the front of the crowd on the Capitol’s Lower West Side, prosecutors say Khater aimed pepper spray at a line of officers.
“Khattar’s attack, along with attacks by hundreds of other rioters, led to the collapse of police lines,” the government wrote, adding, “Khattar’s first victim was United States Capitol Police Officer Brian Siknik.”
Bodycam and surveillance video reviewed by CBS News and images included in court documents show Cicnik agitated, rearing and clearing the area to wipe his eyes and clean his face. Videos show that other officers were also hit by Khater’s pepper spray and tried to shield themselves from the effects.
Neither Khater nor Tanios have been charged in Ciknik’s death.
Urging the judge to sentence Khater to 90 months in prison, prosecutors wrote, “While the spray attack on Officer Julian Khater was ultimately not determined to be the direct cause of his death, Office Ciknik’s tragic death is close to the traumatic events of that day, which underscores the seriousness of the crime committed by Khater and his fellow rioters. ”
He “perpetrated a cowardly and premeditated attack on at least three uniformed law enforcement officers,” the government said during Friday’s hearing, court video showing Khattar’s various actions during the attack.
And although Kheter himself did not enter the Capitol that day, the government told Hogan that he was a major part of the mob that broke through the barriers and “permitted” the violation of the Capitol.
Khater – after his arrest in March 2021 – asked for leniency, with his lawyer writing that he “feels genuine remorse for his conduct” before sentencing.
Describing their client as a mild-mannered and kind man who was swept up in the mob mentality of the day, Khattar’s defense team argued that he and Tanios had traveled to the nation’s capital for the sole purpose of attending a Trump rally. Tanios, however, only brought the pepper spray used in the attack that day to guard against potential violence, not the attack.
Khater’s deplorable actions, he wrote, “were truly isolated and not part of some concerted effort.”
Citing legal briefs about what they described as inhumane and dehumanizing conditions in custody, which included poor food and sleep deprivation, his defense team asked Hogan for a reduced sentence.
In court Friday, Khater’s defense attorney said, “The conduct in this case does not define him,” and cited his client’s history of debilitating anxiety and depression.
“Despite some exaggeration and rhetoric,” the defense argued on Friday, “Mr Khater did not directly or indirectly cause Siknik’s death”.
Khattar, speaking briefly on Friday, described the past two years as humbling, but “painful”.
“I can assure you,” he told the judge, “what happened that day was not in my nature … and will never happen again.”
Hogan noted that he heard no sadness or remorse from Kheter about what he did to the officers that day. “I avoided doing so because of the ongoing civil case on the matter,” Khater responded.
For his part, Tanios had already pleaded guilty to trespassing and disorderly conduct in lower courts and was sentenced to time served with one year of supervised release. He admitted to inciting rioters, videotaping attacks on law enforcement and buying cans of spray chemicals used that day.
Before the sentencing, Siknik’s mother and siblings submitted letters to the court, describing feelings of anger toward Khater. He spoke emotionally in court on Friday about his loss.
“You attacked my son like an animal; you’re an animal, Mr. Khater,” Cicnik’s mother, Gladys, wrote, “you should know better … In this great country, we go to the polls to make a difference. We don’t start an armed uprising, the president calls you ‘hell.’ It’s okay to be encouraged to ‘fight’.
Gladys Siknik addressed Khater at Friday’s event wearing her dead son’s shirt. “You attacked my son like an animal, you are an animal, Mr Khater,” she said emotionally. “How does it feel to go to jail for a bald-faced lie?”
Santa Garza, Ciknik’s longtime partner, said Khater and Tanios were “brainwashed” by Trump.
Judge Hogan pointed out that he was not sentencing Kheter for Siknik’s death, stressing that such a charge was not before him Friday. Still, the judge said there was no excuse for the actions of that day.