CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) — A federal jury Thursday convicted a Tennessee man of planning to attack a mosque in New York.
Media outlets report that 65-year-old Robert Doggart was found guilty of solicitation to commit a civil rights violation, solicitation to commit arson of a building and making a threat in interstate commerce.
The jury told U.S. District Judge Curtis Collier that it was deadlocked Wednesday. Collier didn’t declare a mistrial and told jurors to return Thursday for more deliberations.
Prosecutors said Doggart stockpiled weapons and communicated with others about plans to attack a Muslim community called Islamberg. An FBI agent showed jurors an M-4 rifle seized from Doggart’s home and prosecutors played a series of conversations Doggart had with a confidential informant in March 2015.
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Doggart’s attorneys argued that he never had a consistent plan in place, he was entrapped by a confidential informant and he only wanted to conduct reconnaissance on Islamberg.
Attorneys for Islamberg said Doggart was not charged with terrorism because the federal government doesn’t have a “catch-all” law punishing domestic terrorists, the Chattanooga Times Free Press reported. The attorneys said prosecutors used non-terrorism charges for Doggart’s case because current statutes are largely aimed at foreign radical groups.
Doggart, of Signal Mountain, ran for Congress in 2014 in East Tennessee and finished with 6 percent of the vote.