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A U.S. Coast Guard officer will plead guilty to illegally stockpiling firearms and compiling a list of political and media figures he wanted to kill, federal law enforcement officials said Wednesday.
Court filings indicated that Lt. Christopher Paul Hasson will enter his plea Thursday in federal court in Greenbelt, Maryland.
When he was arrested in February, prosecutors described him as a white nationalist who was plotting mass killings, and they fought to keep him in jail pending trial. But because there is no federal domestic terrorism law, he faced only firearms charges.
FBI agents said when they searched Hasson's suburban Washington home, they found 15 firearms — handguns and rifles — and more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition, along with a computer spreadsheet listing 15 prominent Americans he considered traitors and wanted to attack.
Among them were House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, 2020 Democratic presidential candidates including Cory Booker and Kamala Harris, and media figures including Joe Scarborough and Chris Hayes of MSNBC and Chris Cuomo of CNN. MSNBC and NBC News share NBCUniversal as a parent company.
Court documents said Hasson described himself as a long-time white nationalist who was obsessed with the 2011 terror attacks in Norway that killed 77 people. Investigators said he wrote in 2017, "I am dreaming of a way to kill almost every last person on the earth."
Law enforcement officials say they discovered what Hasson was up to when they were alerted to his suspicious internet searches he conducted while working as an acquisitions officer at Coast Guard headquarters in Washington.
Investigators say they also found more than 30 bottles of human growth hormone at his house and that he was hooked on Tramadol, a prescription painkiller that medical experts said can lead to difficulty thinking clearly.
He was accused of illegally possessing an unregistered gun silencer and with being a drug addict in possession of firearms.
His public defender said the government overstated the threat and accused prosecutors of seeking to punish him for private thoughts that he wrote but never shared with anyone else.