DC protester arrested with 11 Molotov cocktails, several guns had list of ‘good guys,’ ‘bad guys’: DOJ
By ALEXANDER MALLIN and MARK OSBORNE, ABC News
(WASHINGTON) — Federal prosecutors submitted chilling new evidence in their case against Capitol siege suspect Lonnie Coffman on Tuesday, including a list the protester had in his possession naming “good guys” and “bad guys,” including the names of a federal judge and a House lawmaker.
Among the evidence submitted to the court are also pictures of the materials seized from Coffman’s truck, which include multiple firearms, a crossbow, stun gun and a cooler with 11 homemade Molotov cocktails. Evidence photos submitted by the Department of Justice show an AR-15-style rifle, shotgun and handgun were taken from the vehicle.
Coffman, who is from Alabama, was arrested Jan. 6 after he returned to his truck in the wake of the protests and was approached by police officers. After being stopped by police in his car, Coffman had “asked officers whether they had located the bombs,” according to an affidavit filed by a Capitol police officer.
Coffman was charged in a 17-count grand jury indictment Tuesday and is facing what appear to be the most serious offenses brought by the DOJ against the Capitol suspects thus far. Among the charges facing Coffman are six counts of possession of an unregistered firearm, carrying a pistol without a license, carrying a rifle or shotgun and possession of a large capacity feeding device.
On a piece of paper seized by investigators, apparently written by Coffman, he lists federal judge David Hamilton as a “bad guy” and also includes the name of Rep. Andre Carson, D-Ohio, with a note written next to it saying “one of two Muslims in the House of Reps.”
“It is extremely disturbing to learn from press reports that I was one of several individuals identified in a list of ‘good guys’ and ‘bad guys’ targeted for attacks,” Carson said in a statement. “The indicted terrorist had the means and opportunity to carry out his plans to violently attack, injure and destroy government officials and related offices in our Nation’s Capitol. These were not idle threats. These were planned and organized measures to take my life, my colleagues’ lives and try to destroy our government.”
A separate handwritten note was found in the back of a magazine in Coffman’s truck that contained “purported contact information” for talk show host Mark Levin, Fox News’ Sean Hannity and Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, prosecutors said.
“There is clear and convincing evidence that the defendant would pose a danger to the community if released,” prosecutors said in a memorandum to the judge encouraging he not be released. “The handwritten messages in the defendant’s pickup truck raise grave concerns about his intentions, and suggest that these weapons were intended to be used in an effort to violently attack our elected representatives.”
Of the Molotov cocktails found in his possession, prosecutors noted they were created to be “particularly lethal” and with “a napalm substance inside that would stick to the target and continue to burn.”
Prosecutors further note that the mere amount of weapons Coffman was in possession of “suggests an intent to provide them to others, as no one person could reasonably use so many at once.”
Also on Tuesday, Mark Leffingwell, who is accused of striking a law enforcement officer inside the Capitol, was charged in a separate seven-count indictment. Coffman and Leffingwell were the first grand jury indictments against two suspects allegedly connected to the riot at the U.S. Capitol last week.
An affidavit filed last Thursday by a U.S. Capitol police officer described how Leffingwell allegedly attacked him and fellow officers as they sought to hold a line inside the building.
“When he was deterred from advancing further into the building, Leffingwell punched me repeatedly with a closed fist. I was struck in the helmet that I was wearing and in the chest,” the officer wrote. “Working with other officers, I was able to gain control over Leffingwell, who attempted to struggle while being detained.”
Michael Sherwin, acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, said at a press conference Tuesday that the DOJ has opened more than 170 subject files, meaning they have identified 170 people who they will accuse in court of committing a crime at the Capitol. DOJ has separately already charged 70 cases, Sherwin said.
“The range of criminal conduct is really, I think, again, unmatched in any type of scenario that we’ve seen the FBI or DOJ,” Sherwin said.
ABC News’ Jack Date and Olivia Rubin contributed to this report.
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.