A Manheim Township man accused of attacking a police officer breaking his body cam during the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol was released from prison while he awaits trial, federal officials said.
Michael J. Lopatic, 57, was originally scheduled to have a hearing on whether he should be freed Thursday-- instead on Monday, the hearing was cancelled and he was released, according to court documents.
U.S. District Judge Emmett Sullivan has been presiding over the case where Lopatic was a co-defendant with two other men, according to the US Department of Justice indictment.
The men are facing over a dozen charges for allegedly assaulting officers, dragging one of them face down into the angry mob, according to the indictment.
One of the officers was also allegedly maced, kicked, struck with poles and stomped on.
Lopatic specifically is accused of ripping off one of the officer's helmet and gas mask, stealing his cellphone--breaking his body camera, an essential piece of evidence-- and hitting him with an uppercut, according to prosecutors statements.
One of the co-defendants, Jeffrey Sabol planned to fly from Boston to Switzerland to avoid extradition for any crimes arising from his conduct during the insurrection, according to a memorandum opinion by Judge Sullivan.
The prosecutors argued that Lopatic should be kept in custody because he possesses a risk of obstructing justice.
Judge Sullivan stated that prosecutors had conceded that he was not accused of “a crime of violence as defined under bail laws”, and went on to say “nor is the former Marine a flight risk”.
“The Court is also very troubled by two obstructive acts Mr. Lopatic undertook — stealing and then discarding an MPD officer's body worn camera,” Sullivan wrote.
But then he went on to say, “those actions were not indicators for obstruction of justice.”
The destruction of the body camera has been deemed relevant to the case, but the Judge states that the government failed to prove that Lopatic destroyed or concealed other evidence.
Lopatic’s attorney, Dennis Boyle, was surprised at the judge’s decision to release him Monday, instead of having a hearing, reports LNP.
Boyle spoke with Lopatic on Monday and told LNP he "was doing well and happy to be with his family.”
Lopatic must comply with release conditions which include surrendering any guns, taking medication and staying away from other defendants.
He faces a maximum penalty of 21 years and 6 months in prison and more than $1 million in fines, according to court records.
Judge Sullivan scheduled a status hearing for Lopatic's case on May 5
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