GAINESVILLE, Ga. — Four suspected members of a Georgia militia charged with plotting attacks against government officials pleaded not guilty at a hearing Wednesday, as prosecutors said for the first time that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder was one of the officials they talked of targeting.
The new details were revealed at a bond hearing at a federal courthouse in north Georgia. Prosecutors said 73-year-old Frederick Thomas, described as the plot's ringleader, had listed Holder and former U.S. Rep. Cynthia McKinney of Georgia among potential assassination targets. Authorities also said Thomas had stockpiled 52 guns and 30,000 rounds of ammunition at his home in the Georgia mountains.
The four men allegedly boasted of a "bucket list" of government officials who needed to be "taken out." But defense attorneys for the men, ages 55 to 73, indicated they were too elderly and infirm to carry out the attacks. Thomas' attorney Jeff Ertel suggested he would argue that his client was only making idle chatter, and Thomas' wife, Charlotte, testified her husband would never do any harm.
Thomas and Dan Roberts, 67, are charged with conspiring to obtain an explosive and possessing an unregistered silencer. Ray Adams, 55, and Samuel Crump, 68, are charged with conspiring and attempting to make ricin, a biological toxin that can be lethal in small doses. If convicted, they could face more than a decade in prison.