Capitol rioter claims he 'accidentally' stole Officer Fanone's​ radio and badge while trying to rescue him from mob
Thomas Sibick

A Capitol rioter is claiming, through his attorney, that he "accidentally" stole Officer Michael Fanone's radio and badge in a "press of bodies" during the insurrection.

Thomas Sibick is accused of stealing Fanone's badge and radio while the Capitol officer was being brutally beaten and repeatedly tased by a mob of rioters after they pulled him from a police line.

However, in a new motion seeking his release from jail, Sibick alleges he was merely trying to help a wounded Fanone by pulling him to safety when he ended up with the badge and radio. Fanone lost consciousness and was hospitalized after the attack, while Sibick would later bury the badge in his backyard.

Sibick's attorney, Stephen F. Brennwald, claims a new video of the attack on Fanone — which has not been made public — "seriously undercuts" the prosecution's case against his client, according to a report from the Buffalo News.

"What it demonstrates is that the contact between Mr. Sibick and the officer was very brief, and that because of the press of bodies and the movement of the officer's body, it would have taken an extraordinary feat of athleticism, for lack of a better word, for Mr. Sibick to have been able to see the police badge and radio on the officer's vest, and then to reach in and grab them intentionally," Brennwald said in the filing earlier this month. "The movement of the mass of people and the short duration of the event were such that it strains credulity to conclude that Mr. Sibick was able to do what he did intentionally, rather than accidentally. The recording makes it appear more likely than not that the radio and the badge – as Mr. Sibick has claimed throughout – came off in his hand as he was reaching toward the officer to pull him to safety."

According to Brennwald, when he showed the new video to Sibick, "He choked up when he grasped its significance to his case, exclaiming that 'I've been detained all this time because no one ever saw this?'"

Prosecutors responded to Brennwald's motion by saying Sibick's actions "were not those of a good Samaritan, but part of a pattern of unlawful behavior."

"The video ... shows Sibick purposely moving toward (the officer) while the mob was attacking him," prosecutors wrote. "For a moment before Sibick reaches toward the officer, (the officer's) body is turned toward Sibick such that his upper torso would have visible to Sibick, including the officer's badge. ... That Sibick stripped the officer of his badge and radio over the course of approximately two seconds in the middle of a chaotic attack is not new information."

A federal judge previously declined to release Sibick from jail based on the attack on Fanone, and a federal appeals court upheld the decision citing the defendant's "repeated lies" to FBI investigators.

Now, Brennwald is seeking to reopen Sibick's detention hearing, citing his "exemplary" behavior while behind bars.

"While a number of his unit mates have been locked down or 'sent to the hole' because of defiant or disruptive behavior on the unit, Mr. Sibick has been a model prisoner – so much so that some of his fellow inmates have accused him of trying to 'cozy up' to the officers/guards," Brennwald wrote in his motion.

Below is video of the attack on Fanone that first aired on CNN in May.

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