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Man charged in AP photographer’s attack pleads guilty to assaulting officer during Capitol riot

An Oklahoma man pleaded guilty on Thursday to assaulting a police officer during the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol, where he also allegedly pushed an Associated Press photographer over a wall.

Benjamen Scott Burlew, 44, of Miami, Oklahoma, disappeared for several months after missing court appearances in Washington, D.C., last year. He was re-arrested on May 13 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and remained jailed until his guilty plea.

U.S. District Judge Randolph Moss is scheduled to sentence Burlew on Sept. 20. The estimated sentencing guidelines for Burlew’s case recommend a prison term ranging from 30 to 37 months, according to his plea agreement. The judge isn’t bound by that recommendation.

Defense attorney Robert Jenkins said Burlew and his family are “looking forward to putting this entire episode behind them.”

“Today, he accepted responsibility for (his) conduct, acknowledging it was criminal in nature,” Jenkins said after the hearing.

Burlew pleaded guilty to an assault charge, agreeing that he approached a police line behind metal barricades, grabbed a Metropolitan Police Department officer and tried to pull him into the crowd of rioters.

Burlew also was charged with assaulting the AP photographer by grabbing, dragging and ultimately pushing him over a low stone wall outside the Capitol. Other rioters have been charged with assaulting the same photographer, who was documenting the attack by a mob of former President Donald Trump’s supporters.

The photographer was wearing a lanyard identifying him as an AP journalist. One of his assailants grabbed the lanyard and used it to drag him downstairs.

More than 100 police officers were injured during the riot. Over 1,400 people have been charged with Capitol riot-related federal crimes. More than 800 of them have pleaded guilty. Approximately 200 others have been convicted by a judge or jury after trials.

Michael Kunzelman, The Associated Press


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