Max Misch, a 36-year-old self-proclaimed white nationalist, pleaded not guilty to two charges of illegal possession of large capacity gun magazines on Thursday.
The plea came following a police investigation into Misch that began after the nationalist's online harassment of the only state's only Black female legislator, former Vermont Representative Kiah Morris, The Philadelphia Tribune reports.
During his arraignment Thursday, a judge ordered Misch not to contact Morris. Additionally, the judge approved the Vermont State Police’s request to seize all of Misch’s firearms and bullet cartridges to ensure the nationalist has no further access to weapons.
Initially, Vermont Attorney General T.J. Donovan looked into prosecuting the white nationalist for his online abuse of Morris. As NBC 5 reports, it was the constant, violent, racist online abuse Morris faced from Misch and others that caused her to decide not to seek re-election last September.
However, as Blavity reported, Donovan and state police officials found they could not charge Misch with any crime, as the First Amendment protected his hateful rhetoric. At a press conference following the announcement the white nationalist would face no hate crime charges, Misch said he trolled Morris because "it's fun."
However, some officials now wonder whether the nationalist planned to stop at being an online troll, or if he planned on committing violence in the physical world.
Donovan said in late January that his office became aware Misch had legally purchased an AR-15 type weapon, stockpiles of ammunition and 30-round magazines in New Hampshire last fall.
According to an affidavit obtained by the Burlington Free Press, Misch's ex-wife raised concerns about the supremacist's firearms to her therapist, claiming he "had a predatory nature and tries to intimidate people physically and through the internet.” This claim prompted the police department to pursue a home search.
Although the magazines Misch purchased in New Hampshire are legal there, they are illegal in Vermont thanks to a 2018 gun reform law signed by Governor Phil Scott (R).
On Wednesday, police found two illegal 30-round magazines during their search of Misch’s home in Bennington, Vermont.
“When people talk about stockpiling weapons and ammunition, talk about white supremacy, that concerns me,” Donovan said following Misch’s court appearance.
“We’re going to continue to do our job, and investigate the facts and the evidence that we know that bias incidences and hate crimes are happening in this state,” Donovan continued. “We have zero tolerance for it. We’ll investigate it and when the evidence is sufficient we will prosecute people for these acts of hate.”
Misch could serve up to one year each for the two misdemeanor charges (one for each magazine) he now faces.
Blavitize your inbox! Join our daily newsletter for fresh stories and breaking news.
Now, check these out: