GREENBELT, Md. (CN) – A Coast Guard lieutenant and self-proclaimed white nationalist accused of plotting an attack on high-profile Democrats and journalists pleaded guilty Thursday to gun and drug charges.
Christopher Hasson, 50, faces up to 31 years in prison on four charges, none of which were directly related to the alleged plot.
Two counts charged him with illegally possessing unregistered and unserialized silencers, which prosecutors said that he had been compiling along with other weapons since 2017. Hasson also faced charges of illegally possessing an opioid painkiller, tramadol, and illegally possessing a firearm.
He will be sentenced Jan. 31.
Although he was never charged him with a terror-related crime, prosecutors referred to Hasson as a domestic terrorist during a hearing in federal court.
The allegations that he is a self-described white nationalist who planned to “murder innocent civilians on a scale rarely seen in this country” came from a 15-page motion prosecutors filed in February asking a magistrate judge to keep Hasson behind bars ahead of trial.
However, Hasson’s public defender Liz Oyer said in a statement Thursday that his case had been sensationalized.
Oyer said Hasson was never plotting a terrorist attack and that prosecutors had been speculating on his intent. She said she expects Hasson to be sentenced to 41 to 51 months in prison and that prosecutors found no evidence to back up their terrorist allegations.
“Mr. Hasson never meant any harm to anyone,” she said.
Last month, U.S. District Judge George Hazel refused to dismiss the gun charges against Hasson, rejecting his defense team’s claim that charging him with unlawful possession of firearm silencers violated his Second Amendment right to bear arms.
In their motion to keep him jailed pending his trial, prosecutors referenced Hasson’s allegedly extremist views, including a document found on his computer that they claim stated, “I am dreaming of a way to kill almost every last person on the earth.”
The motion claimed that Hassan compiled an excel spreadsheet with intended targets, including Democratic lawmakers Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer and Cory Booker, along with TV journalists Chris Hayes and Don Lemon, among others.
The motion further states Hasson had been studying the manifesto of Anders Behring Breivik, a Norwegian far-right extremist who orchestrated a 2011 attack that killed 77 people.
Investigators say they found more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition when searching Hasson’s Maryland residence in Silver Spring, along with 15 weapons and seven rifles. Detectives also found hundreds of tramadol pills from Hasson’s home and say he had ordered at least 4,650 pills since March 2016.
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