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Township Native Pleads Guilty In Jan. 6 Attack On Capitol Police

Julian Khater.(LinkedIn)

A 33-year-old Pennsylvania man, who lived in Franklin, faces up to more than eight years in prison after he plead guilty on September 1 to attacking Capitol Police officers with a chemical during the January 6, 2021 Capitol attack.

Julian Elie Khater, a member of Franklin High School’s Class of 2007, struck the plea deal with federal authorities after facing 10 counts, including three counts of assault on a federal officer with a dangerous weapon and a count of obstruction of an official proceeding, which was Congress’s confirmation of President Joe Biden’s electoral victory.

Khater was arrested in March along with a childhood friend, George Pierre Tanios. Tanios has already taken a guilty plea to reduced charges.

One of the officers the FBI says Khater and Tanios attacked, New Jersey native Brian Sicknick, died the next day of natural causes.

In his plea, Khater admitted to two counts of assaulting and injuring the Capitol officers with a dangerous weapon, according to published reports.

Khater admitted to spraying bear spray in the faces of Sicknick, fellow Capitol Police Officer Caroline Edwards and a Washington D.C. police officer identified as B. Chapman.

Khayter’s attack forced the three officers to abandon their posts behind bicycle racks that were installed to keep rioters away from the Capitol building.

According to published reports, Khater was about to spray another group of officers when he was sprayed by an officer using a “super-soaker” type of spray gun.

Khater, who has been in jail since his arrest, faces a prison term of between 78 and 97 months when he is sentenced on December 13.

According to FBI charging documents, Khater removed a can of bear spray from Tanio’s backpack and sprayed it at several Capitol police officers.

The charging document says that Khater and Tanios were near a row of bicycle racks that were being used by Capitol Police as a barrier against rioters when the two were seen on video “working together to assault law enforcement officers with an unknown chemical substance by spraying officers directly in the face and eyes.”

The FBI agent who swore out the criminal complaint, whose name was redacted prior to the document’s release, said he saw that “these defendants appeared to time the deployment of chemical substances to coincide with other rioters’ efforts to forcibly remove the bike rack barriers that were preventing the rioters from moving closer to the Capitol building.”

The FBI alleges the man in the Trump hat with the pom-pom is Julian Khater. The man in the red hat with his back to the camera is George Tanios, the FBI said. (FBI).

The complaint gives a chronology of the alleged attack on the officers:

According to the complaint, Khater was heard on the video telling Tanios to “Give me that bear sh–” before reaching into the other man’s backpack.

“Hold on, hold on, not yet, not yet… its still early,” Tanios allegedly tells Khater, according to the complaint.

“Khater is then seen emphatically telling TANIOS, ‘They just f–ing sprayed me,’ and KHATER is seen holding a white can with a black top that appears to be a can of chemical spray,” according to the complaint.

“This verbal exchange between KHATER and TANIOS, together with KHATER’s retrieval of the spray can from TANIOS, reveals that the two were working in concert and had a plan to use the toxic spray against law enforcement,” the complaint alleges.

“On the video, KHATER continues to talk animatedly with TANIOS,” according to the complaint. “At approximately 2:20 p.m., KHATER walks through the crowd to within a few steps of the bike rack barrier. KHATER is standing directly across from a line of law enforcement officers to include U.S. Capitol Police (“USCP”) Officers B. Sicknick and C. Edwards, and Metropolitan Police Department (“MPD”) Officer D. Chapman, who was equipped with a functioning body worn camera (“BWC”) device.”

Chapman’s camera captures rioters pulling on the bike rack, the complaint says.

“Seconds later, KHATER is observed with his right arm up high in the air, appearing to be holding a canister in his right hand and aiming it in the officers’ direction while moving his right arm from side to side,” according to the complaint. “Officer Chapman’s BWC confirms that KHATER was standing only five to eight feet away from the officers.”

The complaint states that the three officers “all react, one by one, to something striking them in the face. The officers immediately retreat from the line, bring their hands to their faces and rush to find water to wash out their eyes.”

Soon after, according to the complaint, Khater is seen on video raising his arm and continuing to spray in the direction of officers.

“(Metropolitan Police Department ) Lt. Bagshaw notices these actions and approaches KHATER. At 2:23 p.m., Lt. Bagshaw then sprays KHATER,” according to the complaint.

The complaint states that the officers were temporarily blinded by the spray and needed medical assistance.

“All three officers were incapacitated and unable to perform their duties for at least 20 minutes or longer while they recovered from the spray,” the complaint states. “Officer Edwards reported lasting injuries underneath her eyes, including scabbing that remained on her face for weeks. Officers Edwards and Chapman also described the spray to their face as a substance as strong as, if not stronger than, any version of pepper spray they had been exposed to during their training as law enforcement officers. Officer Sicknick reported to his supervisors and colleagues that he had been sprayed in the face with a substance.”

After publishing photos of Khater and Tanios, a tipster told the FBI that the two men were friends and grew up together in New Jersey, the complaint states.

Authorities identified Khater with the help of his LinkedIn page, according to the complaint. Tanios was also identified from his social media posts, according to the complaint.

Khater and Tanios were each charged with one count of conspiracy to injure an officer; three counts of assault on a federal officer with a dangerous weapon; one count of civil disorder; one count of obstructing or impeding an official proceeding; one count of physical violence on restricted grounds, while carrying dangerous weapon and resulting in significant bodily injury; and one count of violent entry and disorderly conduct, act of physical violence on Capitol grounds, according to the FBI.

Khater’s LinkedIn page identifies him as a 2009 graduate of Raritan Valley Community College in Branchburg, graduating with an Associate’s degree in business administration and management, and a 2011 graduate from Fairleigh Dickinson University with an identical major.

Khater lists his work experience as an assistant manager at Peter’s Liquors in Hillsborough, a financial sales consultant in PNC Bank in Somerset, a bar manager at Panico’s in New Brunswick, and an event ambassador/bartender at TopGolf in Edison.

Most recently, he was the general manager/co-owner of Frutta Bowls in State College, Pa. and Chapel Hill, N.C., according to his LinkedIn profile.

In his profile, Khater writes that he is an “ambitious and results-oriented manager with years of success boosting efficiency and streamlining procedures. Pursuing an opportunity to leverage my experience in leadership, relationship management, and strategy development which have resulted in past increases of new customers monthly in my previous roles. Effective communicator capable of interacting with professionals at all levels to resolve complex issues. Proficient at motivating staff in executing deadline-driven objectives with exceptional decision making and analytical skills.”

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