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Six months, tops
A neo-Nazi who participated in the deadly 'Unite the Right' rally is set to be sentenced for lying to the government.
Hi, and welcome to The Informant, a publication covering hate and extremism in America, written and edited by me, Nick R. Martin.
Today’s briefing includes a look at a sentencing for a neo-Nazi in Philadelphia and brings you all the latest headlines that I’m paying attention to.
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Six months, tops
TODAY: Fred Arena is scheduled to be sentenced in federal court in Philadelphia for lying to the government about his membership in the neo-Nazi group Vanguard America. Prosecutors are asking that he spend six months in prison.
Arena participated in the deadly 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, but lied to the government about his racist activities so that he could keep a job at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, where he had national security clearance.
Arena was indicted by a grand jury in October and has been held behind bars ever since prosecutors successfully argued that he was a danger to the community.
THE EVIDENCE: Prosecutors presented the judge with multiple social media posts that showed his ties to Vanguard America and his musings of violence. In one Facebook post under the name “John S Mosby,” Arena posted a photo of himself holding a rifle and added the comment, “Coming to a synagogue near you soon.” In another online posting, he showed himself holding a knife. The caption for the photo read: “FUCK YOU.. Church burning muzzies!! Come here I got something for you!!”
WHAT PROSECUTORS WANT: Six months in prison and three years of supervised release. The maximum sentence possible for Arena’s crimes is 20 years in prison, but prosecutors told the judge in a filing this week that six months behind bars is “stern, but appropriate to reflect the seriousness of his crimes.”
WHAT THE DEFENSE WANTS: Release with time served. Arena’s defense attorney argued in a filing that his client’s social media posts should carry no weight on the judge’s decision, writing that the content was “distasteful” but “not illegal.” The attorney also noted that a sentence of six months in prison would mean Arena would be released in late April, since he’s already been held behind bars since late October.
TIME: The sentencing is scheduled for 10 a.m. local time.
Also on my radar…
— FRIDAY: THIS IS ONE TO WATCH… White nationalist Augustus Sol Invictus is set for a hearing to determine whether he should be released on bond ahead of his trial on charges of domestic violence, kidnapping and using a gun in commission of a crime. The hearing is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. in circuit court in York, South Carolina.
— SEVEN TIMES PER DAY… That’s how often white supremacists are distributing hateful fliers and other real-life propaganda across the U.S., according to a new report from the Anti-Defamation League. The nonprofit, which tracks hate in America, counted more than 2,700 reported incidents like that in 2019, which is more than double what the organization tallied the year before.
— MASKING UP IN WASHINGTON… “D.C. Makes It A Crime To Wear A Mask. So Why Was A Group Of White Nationalists Able To Do So?” by WAMU’s Martin Austermuhle: “D.C. Council member Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3), who also is a constitutional law professor, says that what the KKK was known for doing differs from the activities of groups like Patriot Front today. While they may spring from the same general ideology, the means of expressing it have so far been different.”
— WALMART MASSACRE CASE… “Accused El Paso shooter pleads not guilty to hate crime charges”
— CHRISTOPHER HASSON APPEALS… “Coast Guard officer accused of terror plot appeals sentence”
— AT A HIGH SCHOOL NAMED FOR MLK… “Students at Riverside’s King High posed in photo with swastika, Confederate flag”
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