“It does appear the bear spray that Mr. [Julian Elie] Khater was holding 10 minutes earlier was not used.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Gilead Light admitted Julian Elie Khater, 32, did not use the bear spray he had in his hand during the January 6 Capitol Hill riot:
Julian Elie Khater, 32, of State College, Pennsylvania, and George Pierre Tanios, 39, of Morgantown, West Virginia, are charged in spraying the chemical irritant at Capitol police officers Brian Sicknick and Caroline Edwards, as well as Metropolitan Police Department officer Damian Chapman.
However, during the hearing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Gilead Light acknowledged to Hogan that bear spray was never used, despite video clips presented earlier in the case.
“It does appear the bear spray that Mr. Khater was holding 10 minutes earlier was not used,” Light said, saying empty mace containers were recovered from Tanios and Khater’s homes.
However, Light maintained purchasing and carrying the bear spray showed intent: “Why else would you bring bear spray — it’s an uncontested fact there’s no bears in downtown D.C.”
Prosecutors said “Khater and Tanios schemed for trouble”:
“They prepared together, traveled together, planned together, and executed their attack, giving rise to a separate charge of conspiracy to attack law enforcement officers,” prosecutors wrote. “This brazen, and ultimately cowardly act of spraying unprotected officers in the face while looking elsewhere speaks to the dangerousness of the defendants.”
Khater’s attorney, Joseph Tacopina, told U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Hogan that Light did not “mention the two defendants had been doused by pepper spray administered by police moments earlier.” More from WTOP:
However, attorneys for Khater and Tanios said prosecutors have only shown video and photos in which the two “appear” to be holding a canister, which was removed from a backpack.
In addition, the wind was blowing as much as 20 mph at the time of the incident.
“Given these circumstances, the Government will seemingly have difficulty establishing that it was Mr. Khater and not another, even possibly law enforcement, responsible for the ‘something’ that struck the officers in this case,” wrote Tacopina and co-counsel Chad Seigel and Alvin Thomas in their motion seeking pretrial bond.
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