Judge orders Morgantown’s George Tanios to remain in jail on U.S. Capitol insurrection charges


George Tanios

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A U.S. District judge has denied bond for a Morgantown restaurant owner and his friend from Pennsylvania, as they await trial on charges related to the U.S. Capitol insurrection in January.

During a hearing Tuesday morning, Judge Thomas Hogan ruled that George Tanios and Julian Khater will remain behind bars.

Judge Hogan denied a 14 page motion, made by Tanios’ attorneys, which asked for his release. In the motion, Tanios’ counsel argued that he “did not plan to do harm to others, he did not conspire to assault anyone, and he did not travel to Washington, D.C., with the intention of participating in a violent protest. Rather, Mr. Tanios was present at the U.S. Capitol, but he was not involved in criminal activity himself, as a co-conspirator or as an aider and abettor.”

George Tanios

Tanios’ attorneys described him as “an ordinary family man who runs a sandwich shop in a small college town in West Virginia.” The motion addressed Tanios’s plans for his trip to the Nation’s Capitol: Tanios “planned a trip to a major political rally to express opinions, cheer for President Trump, and spend time with like-minded supporters. We recognize that this, standing alone, may seem very distasteful to many people, particularly in retrospect, but it is a far cry from a federal crime.”

The motion also attempts to shift blame to co-defendant Khater, who took chemical spray from Tanios’ backpack, before spraying it at law enforcement officers, suggesting that Tanios is not responsible for injuries sustained by the officers since he wasn’t with Khater at the time of the alleged attack. The motion also suggests that Tanios bought the spray as protection against anti-Trump protestors.

His attorneys also point to his cooperation with law enforcement, during their investigation, as another reason why he should have been released.

The motion further takes issue with comments made by U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael Aloi, during Tanios’ initial detention hearing, after his arrest in West Virginia. Tanios’ attorneys claim that Aloi’s comments are: “biased, gratuitous, and inaccurate” and are based on his relationship with his cousin, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin, who was inside the Capitol during the January 6 riot.

A status conference in the case is scheduled for June 16, with a trial not expected until later in 2021.

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