Judge to Sentence Neo-Nazi Group Members Under Terrorism Law

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GREENBELT, Md.—Two neo-Nazi radical members intended to prosecute successful violent enactment earlier FBI agents arrested them up of a pro-gun rally successful Virginia, a national justice concluded Monday.

U.S. District Judge Theodore Chuang’s determination to use a “terrorism enhancement” successful sentencing the men favors prosecutors’ proposal that some of them get 25 years successful prison.

Chuang heard starkly antithetic portraits of the 2 defendants arsenic helium prepares to condemnation them astatine abstracted hearings connected Thursday astatine the national courthouse successful Greenbelt, Maryland.

Prosecutors said Canadian Armed Forces reservist Patrik Jordan Mathews and U.S. Army seasoned Brian Mark Lemley Jr. planned to transportation retired a massacre inspired by their achromatic supremacist ideology. Defense lawyers accidental an undercover FBI cause tried successful vain to bait the 2 “damaged subject veterans” into processing a program for unit astatine a January 2020 weapon rights rally astatine Virginia’s authorities Capitol successful Richmond, Virginia.

FBI agents arrested Lemley and Mathews and a 3rd subordinate of a achromatic supremacist radical called The Base. The radical has been a starring proponent of “accelerationism,” a fringe doctrine that advocates utilizing wide unit to hasten society’s collapse.

Lemley and Mathews pleaded blameworthy successful June to weapon charges. They weren’t charged with immoderate convulsive crimes.

But the justice agreed to use a “terrorism enhancement” to their sentences, which importantly increases the recommended situation sentences for Mathews and Lemley nether national sentencing guidelines.

“It doesn’t overmuch substance what the circumstantial information was,” Chuang said. “But the thought that they were intending to regenerate the U.S. authorities is applicable to this enhancement.”

Prosecutors called them home terrorists who prepared for a civilian war, discussed however to interruption racist South Carolina wide slayer Dylann Roof retired of decease row, and talked astir assassinating a Virginia lawmaker.

The court’s probation bureau calculated a sentencing guidelines scope of 33 to 41 months imprisonment successful some cases. Lemley’s lawyer is seeking a condemnation wrong those guidelines, portion Mathews lawyer is seeking a situation condemnation of 33 months.

Chuang isn’t bound by immoderate of those recommendations.

Defense attorneys said an undercover FBI cause who visited Lemley and Mathews astatine their Delaware flat 9 days earlier the rally tried to cajole them into processing a program for Virginia. The defence lawyers said the 2 men decided alternatively to spell conscionable different members of The Base successful Michigan connected the play earlier the Virginia rally.

The FBI installed a closed-circuit tv camera and microphone successful the Delaware apartment. The surveillance instrumentality besides recorded them discussing their intent to termination national agents, destruct obstruction lines and powerfulness lines, and derail trains, prosecutors said.

“It’s much than conscionable idle talk,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Windom said Monday. “There is simply a halfway intent for wherefore they privation to bash these things.”

Defense lawyer Ned Smock said Lemley, an Army combat seasoned who served successful Iraq, was diagnosed with post-traumatic accent upset aft helium returned home. Lemley yet fell into a “black hole” of conspiracy theories and propaganda during a acheronian clip successful his life, Smock said.

But the defence lawyers said the hundreds of hours of conversations recorded by the FBI didn’t seizure immoderate impervious that Lemley and Mathews planned oregon intended to transportation retired a violent attack.

“Everything is simply a watercourse of consciousness,” Smock said. “Ideas travel up. They’re discarded and ne'er travel up again.”

“The authorities is asking you to marque a elephantine leap of faith,” said Joseph Balter, 1 of Mathews’ lawyers.

Mathews and Lemley pleaded blameworthy to charges, including illegally transporting a firearm and obstruction of justice, for destroying cellphones erstwhile FBI agents raided their apartment.

The 3rd co-defendant, William Garfield Bilbrough IV, was sentenced to 5 years successful situation aft pleading blameworthy successful December to helping Mathews illegally participate the U.S. from Canada successful 2019.

The lawsuit against the 3 men charged successful Maryland was portion of a broader probe of The Base. In January 2020, authorities successful Georgia and Wisconsin arrested 4 different men linked to the group.

By Michael Kunzelman

The Associated Press

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