Chicago police officer charged in Jan. 6 attack to be offered plea deal by federal prosecutors

Officer Karol Chwiesiuk said he was traveling to DC 'to save the nation,' feds say
CHICAGO (WLS) -- Federal prosecutors plan to offer a guilty plea deal to the Chicago police officer charged with crimes during last year's Capitol riot, the I-Team learned in a court hearing Wednesday.

Federal agents say Karol Chwiesiuk went to Washington on Jan. 6, 2021, vowing to "save the nation."

Now, nearly 16 months later, his attorneys are working to save him from a criminal conviction. While Chwiesiuk is expecting an offer from the government to plead guilty, his attorney said he maintains his innocence and looks forward to trial.

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Pictures in federal court records highlight a Chicago police sweatshirt that prosecutors say then 29-year-old Chwiesiuk wore to the insurrection in Washington.

The Harrison District officer was arrested last summer and charged with several misdemeanors, prompting his boss, Supt. David Brown, to say it makes his "blood boil" and sick to his stomach.

Chwiesiuk has been stripped of his police powers and is currently on a leave of absence, according to a department spokesperson.

Federal officials in Washington Thursday said "a plea offer will be forthcoming" to Chwiesiuk.

"A Chicago police officer is going to want to avoid any conviction, whether it's a felony or a misdemeanor, but it still doesn't have a lot of room to operate here unless the government is willing to pass on the charges entirely," ABC7 legal analyst Gil Soffer said. "He has all the incentive in the world to strike a plea for a misdemeanor and not take a risk on something more serious."

Soffer, a former federal prosecutor, told the I-Team that the government and Chwiesiuk have incentives to avoid an actual trial.

"Going to trial and being convicted is worse than taking a plea for a police officer," Soffer told the I-Team. "He's going to have the exposure that comes with a trial however long it takes, he's going to look at a more serious penalty in all likelihood from a judge who won't be pleased that he forced a case where the government's evidence is strong to trial. So there's a lot of reasons why he ought to be taking a plea instead of taking it to trial."
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