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Capitol rioter who threw objects at police pleads guilty to a felony

Most cases tied to the Jan. 6 insurrection have been resolved as misdemeanors, and Wednesday marked what is only the sixth plea to assault charges. 

WASHINGTON (CN) — A South Carolina man who chucked a slew of objects at police officers during the Jan. 6 attempt to overthrow the U.S. government pleaded guilty Wednesday to assaulting law enforcement with a dangerous weapon.

Nicholas Languerand, 26, faces up to 20 years in prison as the sixth Capitol rioter to accept a plea deal for assault. That said, however, Languerand will likely receive far less than evening the 57-month maximum recommended in sentencing guidelines. 

Near the tunnel entrance to the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, Languerand threw several objects, including a canister of pepper spray and a stick-like object that hit at least one officer. Languerand struck multiple officers meanwhile with a large orange traffic barrier that he tossed and managed to ricochet off of an officer’s riot shield. Languerand also repeatedly hit a riot shield against the ground and later posted on Instagram: “Remember this day forever. I love you guys.”

The FBI came for Languerand in April at his grandparents’ home in South Carolina. There, agents found various guns and ammunition, as well as a tactical vest, brass knuckles and a notebook in his room containing cryptic references to “Washington DC Rally 0700." In a trailer where Langerand used to live, agents found additional notebooks containing militaristic and violent language. 

His cellphone meanwhile contained notes referencing QAnon and other conspiracy theories in addition to “poems” to the FBI. In one, Languerand warned: “Dear FBI, if you play nice, so will I. If you shoot my dog, we will all die.” Languerand’s phone also contained pictures of Nazi iconoraphy, photos of alt-right groups the Proud Boys and the Three Percenters, and photos of himself with firearms. 

U.S. District Judge John Bates rejected Languerand’s attempt to get out of jail in August, citing his belief that Languerand poses a danger to the community and that Languerand’s violence at the Capitol appeared to be premeditated. 

"Of course, Mr. Languerand has every right to believe whatever he wants, but he does not have a right to accost and threaten individuals,” Bates wrote, though noting that the objects Languerand threw at police weren’t as dangerous as the weapons that other rioters used. 

Languerand will be sentenced on Jan. 20, 2021. 

Filings in the criminal case against Capitol rioters include this photo of George Tanios at his business in Morgantown, West Virginia. Tanios is wearing a shirt with a Sandwich University logo identical to the clothing seen in both his social media post and the surveillance footage from the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. (Justice Department via Courthouse News)

Earlier on Wednesday, a federal judge lessened the home-confinement requirements imposed against George Tanios, who was pictured in footage from the riot spraying a chemical weapon at U.S. Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick. It is unclear whether prosecutors intend to tie this attack to Sicknick's subsequent death on Jan. 7 after suffering a stroke.

Tanios told the court that he still pays $2,500 a month for the space in West Virginia where he had been running a sandwich shop he was forced to shutter after his arrest after 15 years in operation.

Saying he wants to clean up the place in the hopes of selling it, Tanios told U.S. District Judge Thomas Hogan he also needs to move his belongings into storage, work the night shift at a new job and help his fiancee take care of their three children. 

“I'm giving you more leeway than the government wishes you to have, Mr. Tanios,” Hogan said. “I am relying on you not to cause any more trouble or encourage others to do so.”

Tanios has been out on home confinement since August, when the D.C. Circuit granted him bond. 

Categories / Criminal, Politics

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