Samuel Lazar and federal prosecutors are working toward a guilty plea to resolve criminal charges related to Lazar’s activities outside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, according to a court filing.
Lazar, 36, of Ephrata, was scheduled to have a status conference with a federal judge Tuesday for an update on his case, but defense and prosecuting attorneys asked for a postponement.
The joint filing said, “the parties continue to negotiate a disposition of the matter short of trial.”
A U.S. Attorney’s Office spokesman said the office does not comment on pending cases. Lazar’s attorneys did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
However, David Haas, a criminal defense lawyer in Florida and former federal prosecutor, said the language in the filing means, “They’re seeing if (a plea) can be worked out. It doesn't necessarily mean there will be a plea.”
Lazar is charged with assault and obstruction-related crimes. Video footage shows him spraying police with a chemical irritant, taunting them and urging others to “take their guns.”
Lazar has been in federal custody since he was arrested at his Ephrata apartment on July 26.
Though Lazar’s attorneys tried to get him released pending trial, U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson determined at an October hearing that he continued to pose a danger.
Lazar’s physical appearance outside the Capitol — camouflage face-paint, goggles and tactical vest — earned him the hashtag #facepaintblowhard by online researchers who have been trying to identify the hundreds of still unidentified people in photos posted to the FBI’s website in the wake of the violent attack on the Capitol.
LNP | LancasterOnline first identified Lazar last April based on comparing his since-deleted social media posts on Jan. 5 and 6, 2021, with widely disseminated video and photos of the violent events that followed then-President Donald Trump’s speech to thousands of his supporters in which he urged them to stop Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s election victory.
Lazar's status conference was rescheduled to June 15.
Meanwhile, release conditions for another Jan. 6 defendant from Lancaster County, Michael Lopatic, have been slightly relaxed.
Lopatic, 59, is accused of punching one police officer in the head, ripping the body camera off another officer and later throwing it away, apparently trying to get rid of evidence.
Lopatic has been on house arrest since his release on April 26. On three occasions, he got court approval to remove his ankle monitor so he could undergo MRI scans related to a benign pituitary gland tumor.
On Tuesday, a federal judge replaced the home detention condition with a curfew from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.
A trial date has not been set in Lopatic’s case.