A federal judge in California handed down a pair of multi-year prison sentences to two men for their roles in a firebomb plot targeting the offices of the California Democratic Party following the 2020 presidential election, which they believed was stolen from Donald Trump.
U.S. District Judge Charles R. Breyer ordered Ian Benjamin Rogers and Jarrod Copeland to serve their sentences after the two entered plea agreements, federal authorities said.
Rogers, 46, pleaded guilty to conspiracy and multiple federal weapons violations last May. Copeland, 39, pleaded guilty in 2021 to conspiracy and obstruction of justice.
The defendants, U.S. Attorney Stephanie Hinds said in a statement, admitted that they intended to destroy the headquarters of a political organization by firebombing it.
“Their decision to ‘go to war’ was based on their thought that they would rather destroy their political opponents’ building than acknowledge they lost an election and rely on the political process to make change,” Hinds said. “Ian Rogers and Jarrod Copeland will now have plenty of time to reflect on the fact that resorting to violence is not an acceptable means of making political change in our democracy.”
According to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the men admitted in court documents that following the 2020 Presidential election, they conspired to destroy the John L. Burton Democratic Headquarters in Sacramento.
Between November 2020 and January 2021, the two discussed attacking the Democratic Headquarters building by throwing gas cans through the front windows of the building and igniting the gasoline to burn down the building, their plea agreements state.
They also admitted that Rogers sent a map of the Democratic Headquarters building’s location to Copeland and discussed its proximity to a fire department and certain law enforcement agencies.
Their goal was to “ensure they caused the greatest damage to the building while allowing their escape without detection,” prosecutors said.
“I want to blow up a democrat building bad,” Rogers wrote to Copeland, prosecutors said, citing court documents.
Rogers said he had an “illegal weapons stockpile” of five homemade pipe bombs and the raw material to make more. He had up to 50 fully automatic firearms, and a replica MG-42 belt-fed machine gun that an FBI agent said was similar to those used by Nazi troops during World War II.
On his vehicle, he had a sticker for “Three-Percenters,” a group ascribing to extreme anti-government, pro-gun beliefs and a “White Privilege Card” that referenced Trump.
The card, made to look like a credit card, said “Trumps Everything” and repeated the numbers “0045” four times consecutively like a bank account number.
Rogers admitted he expected to use the homemade bombs and the machine guns on the Democratic Headquarters in Sacramento.
Following Rogers’ arrest, prosecutors say Copeland contacted other members of their militia group and told them to “delete everything.”
He was arrested on July 14, 2021.
At the sentencing, the judge called the plot a clear act of terrorism.
“Rogers and Copeland devised a plan of attack to put innocent lives in danger,” FBI Special Agent in Charge Robert K. Tripp said. “Today’s sentences make clear that those actions have serious consequences.”
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]