Alleged Georgia ricin plot leader asks for release

The Georgia man accused of leading a plot to buy weapons and explosives to target government officials asked a judge to release him on bond because the federal domestic terrorism charges are "overblown."
The Tuesday appeal focused on Frederick Thomas' long service in the U.S. Navy and his history of lung disease and heart problems. Jeff Ertel, Thomas' defense attorney, said his client is not even able to lift his arms above his head, let alone raise a gun to his shoulder, the Associated Press reports.
"What is driving his case is the allegations that Mr. Thomas is a ‘domestic terrorist' (an) allegation that is overblown and inaccurate but has led to a media ‘firestorm' that has prejudiced (an attempt at a fair trial)," the filing said, according to the AP. "Mr. Thomas has never harmed anyone in his seventy three years of existence."
Thomas and three other men were denied bond last month. In a 28 page order, Susan Cole, a U.S. magistrate, said that despite their age, the four could still carry out attacks by detonating an explosive with a cellphone or pulling a trigger. She also said there were no conditions of release to make sure they wouldn't commit any violent behavior.
Thomas and Dan Roberts are charged with possessing an unregistered silencer and conspiring to obtain an explosive. Samuel Crump and Ray Adams are charged with conspiring and attempting to make ricin.
The four men were arrested after approximately seven months of surveillance by an informant who infiltrated their meetings. Thomas allegedly talked of targeting former U.S. Rep. Cynthia McKinney and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. He also allegedly stockpiled a small arsenal of weapons at his Georgia mountain home and scouted two federal buildings in Atlanta for potential attacks.
Attorneys for the men, who pleaded not guilty, said they were never going to follow through on the idle chatter and that they were prodded by an informant with a sordid past. In the filing, Ertel said that his client was a "true patriot" who had served and defended his country.
"Once the court looks past the label ‘domestic terrorist' and gets to the meat of the case, it is clear Mr. Thomas is not a danger to the community," the filing said, according to the AP.

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