Jan. 6 rioter pleads guilty to assaulting Capitol officer who later died due to unrelated condition

Critics have claimed officer died due to injuries from riot, but evidence has been unforthcoming.

Updated: September 1, 2022 - 3:49pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

A Jan. 6 rioter pled guilty on Thursday to having assaulted a Capitol police officer who died shortly after the riot due to what medical authorities ultimately concluded were unrelated natural causes. 

Julian Khater pled guilty before Senior U.S. District Judge Thomas Hogan to two charges of assaulting an officer with a deadly weapon. Under the plea agreement, Khater may face 97 months in prison—about eight years—though he theoretically faces a maximum of 20 years per charge. 

Khater has been in custody since March of 2021 when he was arrested on the charges for which he ultimately pled guilty. 

One of the two officers Khater was accused of assaulting was Brian Sicknick, a member of the Capitol police force who died the day after the Jan. 6 riot, reportedly from two consecutive strokes that brought about his death over the course of just under 42 hours.

Commentators and politicians immediately claimed that Sicknick had died due to injuries he sustained during the riot, with many citing claims by two anonymous media sources that he had been hit in the side of the head with a fire extinguisher. 

No evidence has come forward to substantiate the fire extinguisher claims. The District of Columbia's Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, meanwhile, determined more than a year later that Sicknick had died of natural causes.