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Georgia man pleads guilty to attacking police during U.S. Capitol riot

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Tear gas is released into a crowd of protesters, with one wielding a Confederate battle flag that reads "Come and Take It," during clashes with Capitol police at a rally to contest the certification of the 2020 U.S. presidential election results by the U.S. Congress, at the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, U.S, January 6, 2021. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

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WASHINGTON, Dec 1 (Reuters) - A Georgia man pleaded guilty on Wednesday to attacking a police officer during the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot by supporters of then President Donald Trump trying to overturn his election defeat.

Kevin Creek, 46, of Alpharetta, pleaded guilty to a felony charge that he engaged in physical contact with a police officer during the riot.

U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich told Creek the charge carried a maximum prison term of 8 years and fine of $250,000, but that federal guidelines suggested a prison sentence ranging from 24 to 30 months.

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The judge scheduled a sentencing hearing for March 10.

According to a Federal Bureau of Investigation report, videos show Creek attacking "multiple" police officers during the riot.

The FBI said that during a subsequent visit to a Georgia hospital, Creek talked about being "tear gassed" at the Capitol on Jan. 6.

During an FBI interview in May, Creek was shown videos of a rioter attacking police and "admitted the videos looked like him," while claiming he "did not remember assaulting any officer." He confirmed that during the riot he was armed with mace and a knife.

Also on Wednesday, prosecutors announced that they filed Jan. 6 riot charges against a Pennsylvania man who allegedly attacked police with a flagpole.

Prosecutors allege that Howard Richardson, 71, of King of Prussia, charged at a D.C. police officer outside the Capitol with a metal flagpole and "only stopped swinging after the flagpole broke in his hands." Richardson faces three riot-related felony charges.

More than 120 defendants have pleaded guilty to Jan. 6 charges, though fewer than 20 have pleaded guilty to felonies.

Four felony pleas related to assaults on police, according to the Justice Department. At least 65 defendants face charges of using a dangerous weapon or causing injury to police. The department said around 140 police officers were assaulted during the riot.

A Capitol Police officer attacked by protesters died the following day. Four D.C. police officers who guarded the Capitol later committed suicide. Four rioters also died, including one who was shot by police as she tried to climb through a shattered window inside the building.

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Reporting By Mark Hosenball Editing by Bill Berkrot and Alistair Bell

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