By Jody DiPerna
Pittsburgh Current Senior Contributor
A preliminary hearing was held yesterday afternoon by videoconference in the case of USA v. George Tanios, filed in Federal Court stemming from Tanios’ actions at the Capitol on January 6th. The 39 year old Morgantown, West Virginia, man is being held in connection with the Capitol Breach and with the death of Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who died as a result of the injuries he sustained in the rioting that day.
Also charged in connection with Officer Sicknick’s death is Julian Khater, from State College, Pennsylvania. Federal authorities assert that both Tanios and Khater assaulted officer Sicknick with bear spray during the rioting, although it is not yet clear if the chemical irritant was a cause of the death of Officer Sicknick.
According to investigators, Tanios and Khater can be seen in surveillance footage spraying bear spray directly in the faces of Sicknick and other officers. Investigators also noted there was video of Khater asking Tanios for “that bear shit,” before reaching into Tanios’ backpack and taking out a can.
Channel 12 WBOY in Clarksburg, W.Va. reports that George Tanios is the owner of Sandwich U restaurant in Morgantown.
Both men were arrested on Sunday, March 14th.
During the preliminary hearing held in the Northern District of West Virginia Federal Courts today, Judge Michael Aloi read aloud the charges against Tanios and the possible sentences he faces. He is charged as follows:
- Assault on officer with dangerous weapon, with a sentence of up to 20 years imprisonment;
- Conspiracy to injure an officer, with a sentence of up to 6 years imprisonment;
- Civil Disorder, with a sentence of up to 5 years imprisonment;
- Obstructing or impeding official proceeding, with a sentence of up to 20 years imprisonment;
- Physical violence on restricted grounds while carrying dangerous weapon and resulting in significant bodily injury with a up to 10 years imprisonment; and
- Violent entry and disorderly conduct, with a sentence of up to 6 months.
George Tanios will have a detention hearing in the District Court on Thursday morning. Until then, he is to remain in custody in the Central Regional Jail in Greenwood, W.Va. Julian Khater was arrested on March 14th in Newark, N.J. and has not yet had a preliminary hearing.