Man previously accused of attacking officer on Jan. 6 pleads guilty to lesser crimes

Washington – One of the two men previously charged with assaulting with chemical spray at least three Capitol Police officers, including Officer Brian Sicknick, outside of the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 pleaded guilty to less severe misdemeanor charges on Wednesday. The Justice Department agreed to drop the more severe charges against him at sentencing.

George Tanios, of Morgantown, West Virginia, admitted to illegally entering Capitol grounds and engaging in disorderly conduct during the Capitol attack. He did not admit to any conduct related to any law enforcement officers. He now likely faces a maximum sentence of a year in prison, although prosecutors said they would ask for less.

Tanios and his codefendant, Julian Khater, were initially arrested in the months following the attack and charged with multiple counts including assaulting officers with a dangerous weapon.

Sicknick died of natural causes a day after defending the Capitol during the Jan. 6 assault, the D.C. medical examiner's office announced last year. Sicknick was previously believed to have died from injuries sustained during the riot. He died from strokes, the chief medical examiner's office said in a report summary, citing "acute brainstem and cerebellar infarcts due to acute basilar artery thrombosis."

  George Tanios / Credit: U.S. District Court documents
George Tanios / Credit: U.S. District Court documents

Prosecutors said in court on Wednesday that they recently extended a plea deal to Khater in which he would admit to two counts of assaulting officers with a dangerous weapon in exchange for a lesser prison sentence recommendation.

Khater's attorney told the judge that he had to review the case with his client, who remains detained and will have to decide by the Aug. 17 expiration date set by prosecutors. He did not immediately respond to CBS News' request for comment.

In their initial charging documents, investigators said surveillance and body camera video showed Khater and Tanios working together to assault law enforcement with the chemical spray and tear down bike rack barriers that were guarding the Capitol building. That video has since been obtained and reviewed by CBS News.

According to prosecutors at the time of the initial charges,, open-source video of the attack allegedly showed Khater approaching Tanios, saying, "Give me that bear s***," and "They just f*****g sprayed me."

Khater previously pleaded not guilty to the charges against him and is currently set to stand trial in October, although his attorney indicated they hoped to resolve the case before it goes to trial.

In a statement, Tanios' public defender Beth Gross said, "The parties here worked diligently toward a fair and just resolution short of trial. The proposed misdemeanor charges better reflect the limited actions of George Tanios on January 6, 2021 while outside the U.S. Capitol."Tanios is set to be sentenced in December.

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