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Coast Guard officer connected with mass killing plot pleads guilty

Coast Guard officer connected with mass killing plot pleads guilty

The Coast Guard lieutenant arrested in connection with a plot to orchestrate a mass killing reportedly pleaded guilty Thursday to weapons and drug charges.

Christopher Hasson, 50, is set to be sentenced on Jan. 31 and could face up to 31 years in federal prison, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney's Office in Maryland. He pleaded guilty to four federal charges: an unlawful possession of unregistered silencer, unlawful possession of firearm silencers unidentified by serial number, possession of firearms by an addict and unlawful user of a controlled substance and possession of a controlled substance.

“I am grateful for the hard work of the agents and prosecutors to obtain this guilty plea," U.S. Attorney Robert K. Hur said in a statement. "I look forward to the opportunity for the government to present additional evidence to the Court at sentencing.”

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Public defender Liz Oyer said in a statement obtained by CNN that her client's case was "mischaracterized and sensationalized from the start."

"It is not a domestic terrorism case," she said in a statement. "Mr. Hasson was not plotting a terrorist attack or any of the abhorrent acts that the prosecution has repeatedly speculated about but never actually charged." 

She added that Hasson "deeply regrets the pain and embarrassment he has caused his family and the U.S. Coast Guard."

Hasson, a self-proclaimed white nationalist, was arrested in February after having a large supply of guns and a political hit list of Democratic politicians and CNN and MSNBC journalists.

He was indicted and accused of unlawful possession of improperly registered silencers, narcotics and 17 firearms as a user of a controlled substance. 

"Hasson knew the firearm silencers were not registered in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record, and that they did not have serial numbers, as required by law," prosecutors said.

Hasson also used multiple email accounts to order Tramadol, an opiod, between at least March 2016 and February 2019, according to authorities, who say they found 196 Tramadol pills on his person and 228 within his possessions.

—Updated at 4:47 p.m.