The long-awaited ruling from Judge Thomas Hogan of the DC District Court comes in one of the most closely watched cases related to Trump supporters’ violence against police during the insurrection.
The two Trump supporters spraying toxic chemicals at police during the riot “wasn’t just out of the blue,” Hogan said on Tuesday. George Tanios and Julian Khater “had a plan to use those devices as weapons at the Capitol,” Hogan added.
Tanios and Khater have pleaded not guilty to 10 counts of assaulting police and other charges.
Tanios is accused of buying pepper and bear spray in West Virginia to bring to the election protests, then carrying it in his backpack in the crowd on January 6. Khater is alleged to have pulled out the chemical spray during the riot and fired it in the faces of three officers, including Sicknick, injuring them as the police line around the Capitol building began to fall.
Video from the attack, released recently to CNN and other media outlets, was key to the judge’s considerations.
“Mr. Khater did the spraying. Mr. Tanios did not, but he obviously” worked with his friend, Hogan said.
Sicknick died the day after the riot from strokes, and the chemical spray attack has not been linked to his death.
“It did affect him … he is injured,” Hogan noted of Sicknick, who is on surveillance video minutes after the attack wiping his face, pacing and kneeling.
This story is breaking and will be updated.