Referring to the video footage depicting Khater assaulting officers outside of the Capitol, Assistant U.S. Attorney Gilead Light said Khater was “visibly incensed.”
“Khater’s tone of voice and his facial expressions… betray his emotion, his anger, and his loss of control,” Gilead said. “He is incensed at having been personally sprayed by police chemical spray while standing on the front line of a riot, as if he had been an innocent victim.”
Khater and his codefendant Tanios were arrested after video footage of the Capitol riots depicted them both assaulting officers. While the men were initially accused of using bear spray, it was later determined they had used pepper spray and only intended to use the other chemical irritant.
While both men were arrested on March 15, 2021, Tanios was released in August with Khater remaining in pretrial detention since his arrest.
The case made national headlines because Brian Sicknick, one of the officers sprayed by Khater, passed away shortly after the riots. The 13-year police veteran died a day after the riots, when he collapsed in his office after he was "injured while physically engaging with protestors," Capitol Police said in a statement following his death, according to Daily Kos. While initial reports indicated 42-year-old Sicknick was killed after being struck with a fire extinguisher, those reports were proven untrue. Sicknick died after suffering a series of strokes.
In addition to the filing asking for Khater’s sentence to be lengthy, a letter was sent to U.S. District Judge Thomas Hogan to be included with the filing in which Sicknick’s mother, Gladys Sicknick, addressed Khater directly, WUSA9 reported. Gladys described Khater as the “center stage in our recurring nightmare.”
“Just when raw nerves have begun to heal, we are carried back to the scene of your crime,” she wrote in her letter. “You, among all the other crazies – you are the reason Brian is dead, Mr. Khater.”
Khater’s attorneys Joseph Tacopina and Chad Seigel also filed a memo Tuesday rebutting the request by federal prosecutors to sentence Khater to 90 months. They asked for a time-served sentence covering the approximately 22.5 months their client has already served in pretrial detention.
The attorneys claimed Khater’s decision to pepper-spray several officers was a temporary lapse of judgment and not premeditated.
“Indeed, Mr. Khater’s conduct on January 6th was not part of some orchestrated plan to attack democracy but rather constituted a fleeting and impulsive response to a moment of hysteria fueled by his preexisting diagnosed anxiety coupled with the potent influence of a mob mentality,” the attorneys said. “Notwithstanding that circumstance, as a testament to his rehabilitative outlook, he feels genuine remorse for his conduct.”
Both Khater and Tanios are to be sentenced Friday by Judge Hogan. If federal prosecutors succeed with their request, Khater would receive one of the longest sentences in relation to a Capitol riot case. According to WUSA9 ,the longest Jan.6-related sentence, as of this report, belongs to Thomas Webster, a former NYPD officer who was ordered to serve 10 years in prison after assaulting a D.C. Police officer.
RELATED STORY: New footage raises questions about Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick's death on January 6