Photo: Scott Olson / Getty Images
A leader neo-Nazi from the state of Washington, accused of a national plot to intimidate Jews and journalists, has been sentenced to seven years in prison for those hate crimes.
The man, Kaleb Cole, 25-year-old former leader of the neo-Nazi group Atomwaffen Division was convicted in September of conspiracy, sending threatening communications and interference with federally protected activities due to religion and cyberbullying, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said Tuesday in a statement.
“The group mainly focused on those who are Jewish or minority journalists,” the Justice Department said.
That plot involved sending posters saying “You have been visited by your local Nazis”. In one case, a poster was taped to the window of the home of an editor of a Jewish publication in Arizona.
“Today, the community and those that Mr. Cole and his accomplices attacked stand up to say, ‘Hate has no place here,'” said the federal prosecutor. Nick Brown.
The posters contained threatening images, such as a hooded figure preparing to throw a Molotov cocktail at a house. The threatening posters were delivered to homes in late January 2020.
At the trial, victims described how receiving the posters shocked them.
Some moved out of their homes for a time or installed security systems. One bought a firearm and took a firearm safety class. Another began to open his mailbox with a stick for fear of what might be inside. Someone else quit his job as a journalist.
Three other co-conspirators, Cameron Shea, Johnny Roman Garza and Taylor Ashley Parker-Dipeppe, who were arrested along with Kaleb Cole, pleaded guilty and were sentenced earlier.
“Threats motivated by religious intolerance are the antithesis of American values, especially when they aim to intimidate journalists and others who work to expose intolerance in our society.” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.
“The defendant led a multi-state plot by a neo-Nazi group to threaten and intimidate journalists and advocates who were doing important work to expose anti-Semitism across the country. The Justice Department will continue to investigate and prosecute these hateful acts, “said Clarke.
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