INTEL BRIEF: Atomwaffen founder gets out of prison

PLUS: 'Gypsy Crusader' blames 'right-wing media' for his radicalization; and Rep. Paul Gosar keeps promoting Holocaust deniers.

HAPPENING TODAY… Neo-Nazi Paul Miller, who went by the online nickname “Gypsy Crusader,” is scheduled to be sentenced on federal gun charges at 2:30 p.m. ET in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Miller has blamed “right-wing media” for his radicalization. The claim was made by Miller’s attorney in a filing (PDF) attempting to convince a federal judge to go easy on the 33-year-old at today’s sentencing. Prosecutors, meanwhile, have argued that Miller has played the victim at every turn in the case and has not taken true responsibility for his crimes. The feds are asking (PDF) for Miller to be sentenced to nearly four years behind bars.

ATOMWAFFEN FOUNDER GETS OUT OF PRISON… Brandon Russell, the 26-year-old founder of the violent neo-Nazi group Atomwaffen Division, was released from a federal prison on August 23 after serving a little more than four years behind bars. Russell was arrested in Florida in May 2017 after one of his roommates killed two other roommates, all of whom had been members of Atomwaffen. He eventually pleaded guilty to two federal charges after investigators found illegal guns in his vehicle and bomb-making materials in his garage.

Prosecutors asked for Russell to be sentenced to 11 years in prison, saying he would continue to pose a danger and that he “must be stripped from the ability to harm the public for as long as possible.” The judge sentenced him to five years. He ended up serving 85 percent of that, which is standard for federal inmates. 

During his time in prison, he managed to release a propaganda video that named multiple people who he claimed had betrayed the group. He also thanked other members for their “undying loyalty.”

Russell is now scheduled to serve three years under the supervision of a probation officer. Among the terms of his supervision (PDF) are that he must undergo mental health treatment and avoid other convicted felons. The judge, however, did not order him to avoid contact with other Atomwaffen members.

ATOMWAFFEN RECRUITER SENTENCED TO THREE YEARS IN PRISON… A one-time recruiter for Atomwaffen Division was sentenced on Tuesday in federal court to three years in prison for his role in a conspiracy to intimidate journalists and activists in multiple states. Cameron Shea, 26, helped organize a campaign in January 2020 to place threatening posters at the homes of the neo-Nazi group’s perceived enemies, including the editor of a Jewish publication. The posters warned: "You have been visited by your local Nazis." One depicted a neo-Nazi holding a Molotov cocktail.

Federal prosecutors asked (PDF) for Shea to serve more than four years in prison. Shea, meanwhile, wrote a letter (PDF) asking the judge for a “second chance,” and his attorneys asked (PDF) that he be let out of custody immediately. The judge ended up sentencing him to three years in prison. He has already served about half that time in pre-trial custody and will likely get out of prison in late 2022 or early 2023.

Four members of Atomwaffen were arrested in February 2020 for taking part in the conspiracy. Of those, Shea was the third to plead guilty and be sentenced. The fourth is Kaleb Cole, who helped lead the neo-Nazi group while founder Brandon Russell was in prison. Cole is fighting the charges against him and could go to trial.

CONGRESSMAN KEEPS PROMOTING THE WORK OF HOLOCAUST DENIERS… Congressman Paul Gosar, a Republican from Arizona, continues to promote the work of white nationalists and Holocaust deniers. Gosar has a history of embracing extremists of various stripes, as The Informant has documented. But in recent weeks, he has repeatedly promoted one particular white nationalist: Vincent James Foxx, who runs a racist and antisemitic website called Daily Veracity. Gosar did so again on Wednesday, retweeting a post from Foxx that linked to his hate-filled website, which fearmongered about the COVID-19 vaccines. By The Informant’s count, it was at least the sixth time Gosar has promoted Foxx on Twitter. (Two days later, Gosar threatened to sue a journalist who described the congressman as a “white nationalist.”)

BOOGALOO WATCH… “‘Boogaloo’ militia member pleads guilty to obstruction in killing of federal officer” (Courthouse News Service)

‘SIMILAR TO THE BOOGALOO BOIS’… “Guilty plea from Owatonna man who allegedly threatened to kill police at pro-Trump rally at Minnesota Capitol” (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

HEARTBREAKER… Widower's Death Extends Mourning Tied To El Paso Massacre” (Associated Press)

BIRDS OF A FEATHER… The Right-Wingers Who Admire the Taliban” (The New York Times)

A CASE TO WATCH… “Capitol police officers sue Trump and far-right groups over 6 January attack” (The Guardian)

‘HE SLAUGHTERED THEM’… “Court upholds death sentence for Charleston church shooter” (Greenville News)

IT’S COMPLICATED… “‘The Very, Very Tip Of A Huge Iceberg’: Why Hate Crimes Are Often Undercounted” (WGBH)

‘SIMMERING’… “Miami judge rejects self-defense claim by man who pulled gun on Black teens, used racial slur” (Miami Herald)

GUILTY… Man found guilty of hate crime, murder in trans teen’s death” (Associated Press)

CALIFORNIA INCIDENT… Neo-Nazi flyers distributed in Aptos neighborhoods” (Santa Cruz Sentinel)

HAPPENING IN NEW YORK… Police probing incident at Hicksville mosque as possible bias attack” (News 12)

‘HIT BY A ROCK’… Guthrie Man Accused Of Rape Caught On Camera Screaming Racial Slurs, Threatening To Kill Teen” (KWTV)

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