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He tried to fly to Switzerland after the Capitol riot. Now he's stuck in jail until trial

A federal judge has ordered the detention of Jeffrey Sabol as co-defendant Michael Lopatic still seeks release.

WASHINGTON — A man who is charged in one of the most brutal beatings of DC Police during the January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol will not be released from jail before trial, a judge ruled Wednesday. Meanwhile, his co-defendant continues to fight for his pre-trial release.

According to a memorandum opinion by U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan, Jeffrey Sabol planned to fly from Boston to Switzerland to avoid extradition for any crimes arising from his conduct during the insurrection. Sabol and four other men are charged with assaulting two MPD officers, dragging one of them face down into the angry mob, while a co-defendant, Michael Lopatic, ripped off that officer's helmet and gas mask, stole his cellphone and hit him with an uppercut. The officer was also allegedly maced, kicked, struck with poles and stomped on.

According to court documents, after leaving D.C., Sabol returned to his home in Colorado, where he became “paranoid that he was going to be charged with sedition." The DOJ says he “fried” electronic devices in his microwave, destroyed anything that could be “misconstrued as anti-government” and moved two firearms that he kept at his home to a friend’s house.

After flying to Boston en route to Switzerland, prosecutors say Sabol saw police at the airport and became worried they were looking for him. He allegedly rented a car and drove south – eventually turning himself in after being pulled over in New York for driving erratically.

In his decision, Sullivan wrote, “Mr. Sabol’s willingness to act violently during what he perceived to be a 'battle' and a fight against tyranny is extremely troubling. That he acted violently against law enforcement protecting the peaceful transition of power based on a belief that the 2020 Presidential Election was stolen is also very alarming. This recent conduct indeed raises concerns about Mr. Sabol’s character and the danger Mr. Sabol may present to the community if he were released.”

Credit: US Department of Justice

Sullivan will also rule on a motion made by attorneys for Sabol’s co-defendant to be released from jail before trial. In court filings, Lopatic’s attorney said he is a 57-year-old retired U.S. Marine Corps veteran who served in combat in Grenada and in Lebanon.

“Mr. Lopatic has no connections to any foreign country, and no ability to flee,” his attorney wrote, noting the Lancaster, Pennsylvania, man has been married for 34 years and has four children.

“He has no prior criminal record, and aside from shooting some pheasants during hunting season, has no history of violence,” his attorney wrote.

Sullivan will rule on Lopatic’s detention hearing April 22.

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