WASHINGTON (CN) – A North Carolina man pleaded not guilty Friday on federal charges that he opened fire in a pizzeria where he believed Democrats were running a child-sex ring.
Making his second appearance since his case was transferred to U.S. District Court earlier this week, 28-year-old Edgar Welch pleaded not guilty to one federal charge and two district-level charges stemming from a shooting on Dec. 4 at the restaurant Comet Ping Pong in Northwest D.C.
In conspiracy-theory circles, with zero supporting evidence, the pizza spot operates as the front for a child-sex ring that has ties to Hillary Clinton’s former campaign chair, John Podesta.
Prosecutors say Welch learned about “Pizzagate” on Youtube and drove from North Carolina to Washington, armed with an assault rifle, to investigate.
Discovery of a locked door led Welch to fire his gun, according to the indictment. Finding no evidence of the children described in the conspiracy, Welch gave himself up to police.
Welch’s public defender Dani Jahn lodged an objection Friday before the court about an interview her client gave on Dec. 7 to The New York Times.
Jahn complained that an attorney should have been present, and said she did not receive the Dec. 15 indictment until after a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington sent it out to members of the media.