During a Monday hearing in the case of Vitali GossJankowski, a defendant convicted on various charges related to the January 6, 2021, Capitol attack, a physical altercation erupted. This altercation resulted in overturned tables and multiple federal agents subduing the defendant on the courtroom floor.
Judge Paul Friedman, presiding over the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, ordered GossJankowski’s detention due to recent doxxing threats against federal agents. Shortly after this decision, GossJankowski stood and resisted as agents attempted to handcuff him for custody.
Additional agents from the courthouse rushed into the courtroom to assist four U.S. Marshals and FBI personnel in restraining GossJankowski, who has a hearing impairment.
GossJankowski, a notably tall and muscular individual, engaged in a physical struggle with the officers, pushing, tugging, and knocking over the officers and nearby furniture.
GossJankowski had previously been found guilty of multiple charges in his January 6 case earlier this year, including assaulting police officers. Prosecutors had requested immediate detention pending sentencing due to a series of threatening Instagram posts in which GossJankowski allegedly targeted and disclosed private information about FBI employees.
Just before the commotion involving GossJankowski, Judge Friedman had deemed these social media posts “extremely troubling and dangerous.” Drawing parallels with recent discussions over gag orders in cases involving former President Donald Trump, the judge emphasized that it is typically not public figures themselves but their followers who pose threats to judges and law enforcement officers.
GossJankowski was eventually escorted out of the courtroom and taken to the D.C. jail. His sentencing date has not been established yet.
Friedman stressed that threatening posts do not enjoy protection under the First Amendment and referred to other federal judges in Washington who have recently been targeted and required round-the-clock security.