A man accused of assaulting police officer Brian Sicknick with a chemical spray during the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 told a federal court this Tuesday that he was acting in self-defense, Bloomberg reports.
Authorities say Julian Eli Khater, 32, attacked Sicknick and two other Capitol Police officers, causing them to retreat and rush to wash out their eyes after being hit with the spray deployed by Khater. As Bloomberg points out, Sicknick later collapsed and subsequently died at the hospital.
According to Khater’s lawyer, Joseph Tacopina, Khater was simply returning fire after being hit with a spray from officers.
“He did it instinctively, immediately after he’d been sprayed with some substance himself,” Tacopina said.
Khater and his co-defendant, George Pierre Tanios, have not been charged with causing Sicknick’s death. According to previous reports from last week, the chief medical examiner in Washington concluded that Sicknick died of natural causes after suffering two strokes.