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Jan. 6 rioter who urged mob to take officer’s guns took a secret plea deal, DOJ confirms

WASHINGTON — A Jan. 6 defendant caught on camera using a bullhorn to urge fellow pro-Trump rioters to steal law enforcement officers’ guns took a secret plea deal and was sentenced to 2.5 years in prison earlier this year, the Justice Department and his legal team acknowledged for the first time in a filing unsealed on Monday.

Samuel Lazar, a pro-Trump rioter, also shot at a line of officers with pepper spray on Jan. 6, the government said.

Lazar was actively featured on the FBI’s Capitol Violence website when he attended an event featuring Rudy Giuliani and former Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano in May 2021. There are more than half a dozen photos of Lazar and Mastriano together at various political events; Mastriano has said he can’t vet everyone he takes photos with and that anyone who attacked law enforcement should be “held accountable.”

Lazar was arrested on July 27, 2021, the same day of the first public hearing of the Jan. 6 committee, which featured the testimony of four of the police officers who protected the Capitol during the attack.

Samuel Lazar at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6, 2021.Attorney for the District of Columbia

During a sealed proceeding in March 2022, Lazar pleaded guilty to a felony charge of assaulting, resisting, or impeding certain officers and aiding and abetting and agreed to cooperate with the government, according to the joint filing unsealed Monday. Lazar was sentenced to 30 months, or 2.5 years, in federal prison on March 17, 2023, the filing said.

NBC News first reported on Lazar’s sentencing the day it happened after spotting members of his family at the courthouse. But Lazar’s family members would not say what happened during the proceeding and what sentence Lazar received. The Justice Department declined to comment on Lazar’s case at the time.

The filing was released following a petition by a media coalition, which includes NBC News. The coalition filed a motion to unseal back in April and filed a renewed motion last week after U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson denied the initial request.

The extent of Lazar’s cooperation with the government is unclear.

Video shows Lazar on Jan. 6 yelling “Let’s get their guns! Let’s get their guuuuuuunnnns!” over a bullhorn as rioters fight with police on the west side of the U.S. Capitol. Video from later that day shows Lazar, accompanied by his sister, talking about assaults on law enforcement. “They maced us, those tyrannical pieces of s—, and we maced them right the f— back,” he said, in video cited by the Justice Department. There’s no evidence Lazar entered the Capitol building.

Federal Bureau of Prisons records had indicated that Lazar was set to be released in September 2023, and the BOP told the Associated Press last month that Lazar had been released after serving a sentence for assaulting or resisting a federal officer. The joint filing unsealed Monday confirmed Lazar was released on Sept. 13, 2023, having served his 2.5-year sentence after factoring in credits for good behavior.

In the joint filing between the Justice Department and Lazar’s defense team unsealed Monday, the parties requested 30 days to redact the documents before their release, saying “public dissemination of the information the Defendant supplied could impair or interfere with ongoing investigations and because Defendant named individuals responsible for criminal conduct who may not have been charged.”

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