Jan. 6 rioter Samuel Lazar’s mother and sister were in Washington, D.C., on Friday, apparently for a court appearance for the Ephrata man.
NBC News reporter Ryan Reilly reported that Lazar, 37, was to be sentenced, citing an unidentified source familiar with the proceedings.
Lazar’s criminal docket lists nothing scheduled for Friday, but Reilly reported that “sealed sentencings can mean a defendant is offering significant cooperation with the federal government.”
Lazar’s attorneys and the federal prosecutor on the case did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Lazar’s brother, Adorian Lazar of Elizabeth Township, was not at the hearing, but told LNP | LancasterOnline, “Whatever happened today, seems to have my mother even more confused. She has no idea if and when he's coming home, assuming he was actually given a sentence today. All she understood with certainty is that he was not free so they could not bring him home.”
Asked if Samuel Lazar might have been cooperating, Adorian said, “Given that he's not a group guy, what would he have to cooperate with? I'm guessing he's been a model prisoner. He's not a bad kid, just a little too much emotion and not enough logic and reason.”
Lazar has been in federal custody since he was arrested at his Ephrata apartment on July 26, 2021.
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.”
Aside from a filing on March 9 indicating that another prosecutor had filed a notice of appearance, the case has had no substantive public filings in a year.
The last significant public action was on March 7, 2022, when defense and prosecuting attorneys filed a joint motion saying, “the parties continue to negotiate a disposition of the matter short of trial.”
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 in April 2021 based on comparing his since-deleted social media posts from 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.
Samuel Lazar has not responded to several letters LNP sent to him in prison.
However, since September, Lazar has written about a dozen letters, which his sister posted on her blog to keep people posted about him and his case.
In a November letter, while saying that prison was “living hell for me,” he wrote:
“Being in prison has actually given me the benefit of not being exposed to the divisiveness out there and has allowed me to return to what I call the 90's(1990's) when people just spoke with each other face to face, all races, ages, etc.,” he wrote. “We are mostly shielded from the outside social climate and oddly enough I feel as if we are calmer and more agreeable in prison then (sic) some of the folks out in the free world. From my point of view in prison I see people on Tv (news) upset about the smallest things or taking their lives for granted or people for granted.”