Judge denies bail for two men charged with assaulting Sicknick during Capitol riot

Judge denies bail for two men charged with assaulting Sicknick during Capitol riot
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A federal judge on Tuesday denied bail for two Capitol rioters charged with assaulting police officers, including Brian Sicknick, with a chemical irritant spray during the mayhem on Jan. 6.

Sicknick died a day later.

Judge Thomas Hogan ordered that Julian Khater and George Tanios be held in jail while awaiting trial on charges of assaulting a police officer and other various counts stemming from the riot.

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Hogan, who was appointed to the federal district court in the District of Columbia by former President Reagan, said during a hearing on Tuesday that while he doesn't believe either of the defendants pose a flight risk, the prosecutors' evidence and the nature of their alleged conduct indicate that they are a potential danger to their communities.

"Both [the defendants'] history and characteristics do not weigh in favor of detention, but they still committed this attack on uniformed police officers, and I don't find a way around that," the judge said.

According to charging documents and video of the incident, Khater took the spray out of Tanios's backpack during the riot and sprayed it at officers trying to hold demonstrators back from the Capitol.

The D.C. medical examiner's office said last month that it determined Sicknick died of natural causes the day after the riot, having suffered two strokes.

Neither Khater nor Tanios are charged with causing the Capitol Police officer's death.

Attorneys for the two men did not immediately respond when asked for comment.

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Their lawyers argued that neither man has a serious criminal record that would support holding them in jail and that the conduct they have been charged over was part of an isolated incident in their lives. They also argued that other defendants who are alleged to have committed violence during the riot were granted bail while awaiting trial.

Both Tanios, who lives in West Virginia, and Khater, a Pennsylvania resident, submitted letters from character witnesses who attested that they don't have a history of violence and don't believe they would intend to hurt anyone.

Hogan on Tuesday said that the testaments to the men's character made it a hard decision to hold the men in jail.

"This concerns me because these two gentlemen are law-abiding, respected individuals in their community," the judge said. "This makes it very difficult for the court to make this conclusion."

—Updated at 11:54 a.m.