Viitali Gossjankowski, faces more than one federal charge, including, “disrupting the orderly conduct of Government business” and did so, “while using or carrying a dangerous weapon.” Gossjankowski could face more than 10 years in prison if he is found guilty on all charges.
Gossjankowski, a 32 year old student at Gallaudet University, made his initial appearance virtually in a Washington federal court on Friday.
Court documents filed by the government allege that Gossjankowski carried a taser when he was part of a mob that attacked the Capitol on January 6th. The filing goes on to point out that Capitol Police Officer Michael Fanone suffered a heart attack and was hospitalized as a result of the attack. “Officer Fanone reported that he was Tased multiple times in the back of his neck when he was assaulted by rioters.”
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The government says that Gossjankowski told FBI agents that he he did not use his Taser on Officer Fanone, but if he touched him, “he touched his helmet and it was merely to help him.” The filing also says Gossjankowski admitted to possessing a Taser, but that he claimed he, “found it on the ground when he was walking up towards the U.S. Capitol and that he left after he could not gain entrance to the U.S. Capitol and that he discarded the Taser in a trash can outside the U.S. Capitol building.”
However, court documents also show pictures of the man they say is Gossjankowski and claim he is seen, “entering the covered area leading to an entrance to the U.S. Capitol building; assisting with passing a clear ballistic shield away from the entrance to the U.S. Capitol building; possessing a black-colored handheld Taser, which was handed to him by an unknown man in a desert camouflage jacket and black hat with a white emblem on the front; activating the Taser multiple times, as evidenced by light flashes emanating from the Taser’s tip; and pushing himself through the crowd of violent individuals towards the police line that was protecting the entrance to the U.S. Capitol building.”
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Mr. Gossjankowski has not been charged with assaulting a law enforcement official, which seems to indicate the government has evidence that he possessed a taser during the attack but may not yet have evidence of an actual attack.
Judge Harvey did not order that Mr. Gossjankowski be held pending trial and scheduled the next step in the case as a preliminary hearing for February 18th at noon.