A Coast Guard lieutenant who authorities say amassed an arsenal of weapons and kept a hit list of political and media targets was sentenced to more than 13 years in prison by a federal judge in Maryland on Friday.
Christopher Hasson, 50, had pleaded guilty to weapons and drug charges last year. The sentencing capped a case that underscored the challenges the Justice Department faces when bringing domestic terrorism cases.
In court documents, prosecutors had said that Hasson was a white nationalist who searched the internet for the home addresses of two Supreme Court justices and the “best” gun to kill African-Americans with.
But last year, Hasson was nearly released after a Maryland judge sided with his defense, which had argued that prosecutors were overblowing the allegations against him and developing a profile of a mass shooter “that does not line up with the facts” and the charges that he faced.
Another judge later vacated that order, and Hasson has remained in custody.
In a statement, Maryland US Attorney Robert Hur said “lives were saved” when law enforcement made the decision to arrest Hasson ahead of a possible attack.
“Christopher Hasson intended to inflict violence on the basis of his racist and hateful beliefs,” Hur said. “As long as violent extremists take steps to harm innocent people, we will continue to use all of the tools we have to prevent and deter them.”