CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) – A man who ran for Congress last year in East Tennessee has been indicted on a charge of soliciting another person to burn down a mosque in a small Muslim enclave in New York, federal prosecutors said Tuesday.
Robert Doggart, 63, had agreed to plead guilty in April to plotting an attack on residents of “Islamberg,” a self-named community outside Hancock, New York, consisting primarily of Muslims. But the agreement was thrown out June 29 by a federal judge who ruled it did not contain enough facts to constitute a true threat.
The new indictment by a grand jury in Knoxville says Doggart tried to “solicit, command, induce and endeavor” to persuade someone to burn down a mosque in Islamberg. The charge of violating civil rights laws carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison.
Doggart’s attorney did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
Doggart’s plans included burning a mosque, a school and a cafeteria, and he solicited others to join in his plan through Facebook posts and in telephone conversations, prosecutors said. Court documents allege Doggart wrote that “Target 3 (Islamberg) is vulnerable from many approaches and must be utterly destroyed.”
A judge ordered Doggart released in early May with certain conditions, including home detention, psychiatric treatment and drug testing, refrain from possessing a firearm and post a $30,000 bond. Court records show Doggart entered the bond May 6.
In a letter June 10, The Muslims of America religious organization criticized the proposed plea agreement and the judge’s release order.
“We respectfully do not believe that the plea arrangement is fair, reasonable or in the interest of justice as it relates to us as victims or to society as a whole,” the letter said.
Doggart, of Signal Mountain, ran as an independent in last year’s District 4 congressional race and finished with just 6 percent of the vote.