NJ man pleads guilty after charge of throwing explosive in George Floyd mayhem
PITTSBURGH — A New Jersey man accused of having thrown a homemade explosive device at police during protests in western Pennsylvania following the death of George Floyd last year has pleaded guilty to a federal obstruction charge.
Nicholas Lucia, 36, of Long Beach Township pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court in Pittsburgh to a charge of obstruction of law enforcement during civil disorder.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that he faces a two-year prison sentence under a plea agreement with prosecutors that is to be served at the same time as a state sentence for related conduct that has yet to be imposed.
Federal prosecutors said Lucia threw the device, described by the defense as a “firecracker," at Pittsburgh police officers near Mellon Square during protests in downtown Pittsburgh on May 30, 2020.
Prosecutors said the device hit an officer in the chest, bounced off his protective vest and exploded on the ground, and an officer sustained concussion as a result. Lucia and defense attorney Patrick Livingston indicated agreement with the recitation of facts offered by the government with the exception of the degree of the officer's injury.
“We do dispute whether in fact the officer did suffer a concussion,” Livingston said.
The judge set sentencing for June 7 and allowed Lucia to remain free on $10,000 bond until then but restricted him to the Pittsburgh area and New Jersey, where he is currently living.