Washington — A physical altercation broke out during a hearing on Monday in the case of Vitali GossJankowski, a defendant convicted of several charges related to the, resulting in toppled tables and multiple federal agents subduing the defendant on the ground.
Judge Paul Friedman of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ordered GossJankowski jailed for a series of recent doxxing threats targeting federal agents. Moments later, GossJankowski stood and fought with agents who tried to handcuff him and take him into custody.
GossJankowski, who appears to stand at least 6 feet, 3 inches tall and is exceptionally muscular, pushed, tugged and toppled the officers before careening into a nearby podium and tables.
Agents from elsewhere in the courthouse ran into the courtroom to help four U.S. Marshals and FBI staff corral GossJankowski, who has a hearing disability.
GossJankowski was found guilty of several charges in his Jan. 6 case earlier this year, including assaulting police.
Prosecutors had asked a judge to jail him immediately ahead of sentencing, due to a series of threatening Instagram posts in which GossJankowski allegedly targeted and released private information about FBI employees.
Just before the outburst and fracas by GossJankowski, Friedman ruled the social media posts were “extremely troubling and dangerous.” Echoing recent arguments over gag orders in former President Donald Trump’s cases, the judge said it’s rarely “people in public life themselves” who pose a threat to judges and agents, but rather “their followers.”
Friedman said threatening posts are not protected by the First Amendment. He alluded to other federal judges in Washington who have been targeted recently and needed round-the-clock security.
GossJankowski was eventually removed from the court and taken to the D.C. jail. His sentencing date isn’t set yet.