A jury has begun deliberations to determine the fate of a Tennessee man facing charges in connection with an attack he is alleged to have plotted against a community of citizens in upstate New York; only none of the counts against him pose to convict him of terrorism.
Robert Doggart, 65, was arrested in April of 2015, when investigators who had been following an online trail of evidence which pointed to him having recruited people to back his assault on a mosque, closed in on him before he pulled it off. Doggart had reportedly frequented online forums known for attracting right-wing extremists and hyped up opposition to a town near Hancock referred to as "Islamberg," which he accused of being a radical Islamic terrorist training ground.
Doggart, who went from running for Congress in 2014 to awaiting his conviction while on house arrest, is now looking at prison time for solicitation to commit arson, solicitation to commit a civil rights violation and posing a threat in interstate commerce. Attorneys representing the prosecution are slamming the criminal justice system for making it difficult to bring such criminals as Doggart to trial on the same charges foreign terror threats typically face.
"There's a gap in the law," attorney Tahirah Amatul-Wadud is reported as telling the Daily News. "Frankly, there is nothing on terrorism unless it's connected to a foreign element. You won't see the KKK charged with domestic terror even though that's what they do." Amatul-Wadud points to the Patriot Act of 2001 in befuddlement as to how Doggart could escape any terrorist related charges. According to the act, the law determines anyone against whom there's been a proven intention to "intimidate" or "coerce" a civilian population through the use of "mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping," to have acted on the grounds of terrorism.
"He did it to intimidate Muslims throughout the country — a civilian population — and acted as if he was going to be the world police, which is very anti-government," Amatul-Wadud said.