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Militia Members Plead Innocence on Bioterror Charges

Two members of a Georgia militia group on Wednesday entered pleas of not guilty to charges that they planned to produce and disseminate a deadly biotoxin in attacks aimed at undermining federal and state governments, the Associated Press reported (see GSN, Nov. 9).

Ray Adams and Samuel Clump denied they had plotted to generate ricin from castor beans. Their alleged conspirators, Dan Roberts and Frederick Thomas, plead not guilty to charges of scheming to build bombs to use against government officials.

At a federal courthouse in Gainesville, Ga., prosecutors asserted the four elderly men had discussed assassinating U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder as well as onetime U.S. Representative Cynthia McKinney (D-Ga.) and had begun stockpiling a large arsenal of firearms and ammunition.

Defense lawyers for the accused militia members suggested they were too old and sickly to carry out the attacks and that their monitored conversations were just wild fantasies.

Justice officials disputed the notion the men were too elderly to have executed their scheme. Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert McBurney said the accused had gone as far as surveying potential government targets in Atlanta and taking steps to generate ricin -- a deadly toxin for which there is no known antidote.

If found guilty of the charges, the four men could face prison sentences of over 10 years (Greg Bluestein, Associated Press/Houston Chronicle, Nov. 9).

NTI Analysis