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Guilty plea in conspiracy to set fire to the headquarters of the Democratic Party in California

SACRAMENTO, California. – A California man pleaded guilty Friday to planning to blow up the headquarters of the state’s Democratic Party in what prosecutors said was the first of a planned series of politically motivated attacks following the defeat of former President Donald Trump.

Ian Benjamin Rogers, 46, of Napa, pleaded guilty to conspiring to destroy a building by fire or explosives, possessing an explosive device and possessing a machine gun under an agreement that could earn him seven to nine years in prison .

US prosecutors in San Francisco accused Rogers and Jarrod Copeland of conspiring to attack targets they linked to Democrats following Trump’s defeat in the November 2020 presidential election.

The couple “hoped their attacks would spark a movement,” prosecutors said when they announced the charges in July.

Copeland, 38, previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy and record destruction.

“I want to blow up a bad Democratic building,” Rogers wrote on one of the messaging apps he used to communicate with Copeland, according to the indictment. In another message, he said that after the inauguration of Democratic President Joe Biden, “we’re going to war.”

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Their first planned target was the John L. Burton Democratic Headquarters in Sacramento, prosecutors said.

Police officers who searched the Rogers home in January 2021 seized nearly 50 firearms, thousands of rounds of ammunition and five pipe bombs, prosecutors said.

He was then taken into custody on state charges after the FBI said he sent text messages that agents perceived as a threat against the vacant governor’s house and social media companies Facebook and Twitter.

Under a universal agreement, the federal sentence will be served concurrently with a 10- to 12-year state sentence on similar Napa County charges of possession of automatic weapons and explosive devices, Rogers attorney Colin Cooper said.

Rogers “has never been in trouble,” Cooper said.

“He’s taken responsibility and wants to pay his debts to society and live a productive life, be a good father and husband and family man,” Cooper said, with an 11-year-old son. “He feels terrible about what happened and what he did to his family and he’s a guy I don’t think we’ll ever see in the (criminal justice) system again.”

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Rogers remains in custody awaiting sentencing, which is scheduled for September 30.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, transcribed or redistributed without permission.

https://www.local10.com/news/politics/2022/05/27/guilty-plea-in-plot-to-firebomb-california-democratic-hq/ Guilty plea in conspiracy to set fire to the headquarters of the Democratic Party in California

Sarah Y. Kim

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