Court Chaos

Vitali GossJankowski scuffled with law enforcement after a D.C. judge revoked his pre-trial release

Jan. 6 defendant Vitali GossJankowski was tackled to the ground in an altercation inside a D.C. courtroom on Monday. Several federal agents were required to subdue the defendant in a fracas that reportedly toppled tables. CBS News was the first to report the altercation.

The scuffle erupted moments after U.S. District Judge Paul Friedman revoked GossJankowski’s conditional release pending his sentencing. GossJankowski was convicted in March of several misdemeanor and felony offenses related to his participation in the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol, which included pushing, spitting on, and pulling at the protective shields of law enforcement officers. 

Prosecutors requested GossJankowski’s pre-sentencing release be rescinded after he allegedly sent intimidating and harassing text messages and posted threats on social media against several law enforcement officials who had testified against him. According to a court filing, the messages included racist and antisemitic language targeting the officers. 


When Judge Friedman ruled that GossJankowski would be remanded into custody and jailed until his sentencing, the defendant fought against courtroom officers attempting to handcuff him.  GossJankowski reportedly tried to flee from the courtroom and dragged several officers towards the door. Nearly a dozen officers were called to restrain GossJankowski, who is deaf, as his attorney and ALS interpreter attempted to communicate with him. The monitor displaying the ALS interpreter, who had called in via Zoom, was knocked down in the altercation. 

Earlier in the hearing, GossJankowski’s attorneys argued that the First Amendment protected GossJankowski’s messages and posts. “I’m not detaining him for his First Amendment views,” Judge Friedman told the court, “I’m detaining him for […] for lack of a better word, for inciting violence.”


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