US prosecutors are asking that two members of a neo-Nazi group be sentenced as domestic terrorists for speaking about assassinating the Jewish speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates and for planning violent attacks.
US Army veteran Brian Mark Lemley Jr. and Patrik Jordan Mathews, a former Canadian Arms Force reservist, pleaded guilty in JUne to gun charges, the Associated Press reported.
They were arrested in January 2020. Both are members of the neo-Nazi group The Base, which the ADL describes as “a small militant neo-Nazi organization that emerged mid-2018 and is primarily active in the US” whose “members portray themselves as vigilante soldiers defending the ‘European race’ against a broken system that has been infected by Jewish values.”
According to the ADL, “The Base embraces Hitlerian ideology coupled with a mission to prepare for an impending race war.”
On Thursday, the US attorney’s office in Maryland filed a legal brief asking the judge to sentence the men to 25-year prison terms, along with three years of supervised release, the Washington Post reported. Their sentencing hearing is on October 28.
“The defendants pose a severe risk to public safety. They are domestic terrorists and should be sentenced accordingly,” said the document.
Prosecutors wrote that Mathews and Lemlely were captured on surveillance video discussing an attack during a gun rights rally at the Virginia Capitol Building, the murder of African American children, attacking train lines and power lines, and trying to break Charleston church shooter Dylann Roof out of prison.
The memo also mentioned that Matthews had spoken about murdering the Jewish speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates, Eileen Filler-Corn, in order to “accelerate [the state’s] gun control agenda” which they hoped would “spur a violent reaction,” prosecutors said.
“Hoping for a civil war that would decimate racial and ethnic minorities and subjugate women, the defendants joined forces with each other and others, studied violence, tested their weapons skills, stockpiled munitions and supplies, and planned to kill on a large scale in pursuit of their goals,” prosecutors alleged.
Lemley’s attorney Ned Smock told the Associated Press that his client and Mathews had not carried out any of the acts they had discussed privately, and argued that they should not be focused on those conversations but instead on the crimes they were charged with.
“These are only words. Mr. Lemley has never engaged in violence, he did not plan to initiate violent action, and he took no steps toward carrying out any of the acts mentioned in these recordings,” said Smock.
Mathews and Lemley pleaded guilty to multiple charges, including illegally transporting a firearm and obstruction of justice. Mathews faces a maximum of 50 years in prison while Lemley faces a maximum of 70 years in prison.
The prosecutors are seeking to have the charges upgraded to domestic terrorism offenses at their sentencing.