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White supremacist denies weapons allegations

February 07, 2019 08:40 PM

Max Misch, whose racist threats caused Vermont's only black lawmaker to resign, pleaded not guilty to weapons charges Thursday afternoon in Bennington District Court.

According to court documents, Misch's ex-wife, Lisa Shapiro, told police her ex-husband identifies as a white supremacist and a Neo-Nazi and is a proud member of the Green Mountain Goys, a local white supremacy group.

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"We know that bias and hate crimes are happening in this state," acknowledged Vermont Attorney General TJ Donovan. "We have zero tolerance for it."

Donovan insists Misch's association to hate groups has nothing to do with the charges he was facing in court Thursday afternoon -- allegations that he drove to New Hampshire to purchase several oversized gun magazines -- each of them capable of holding 30 rounds.

"When people talk about stockpiling weapons and ammunition and talk about white supremacy, that concerns me," Donovan stated.

It apparently concerned Misch's ex-wife as well. During a counseling session, Shapiro told her psychiatrist about her ex-husband's violent tendencies. The psychiatrist contacted police, apparently mindful that Misch had been sending threatening email messages to Kiah Morris, at the time Vermont's only black state legislator.

Because of the frightening emails, Morris stepped down from the Legislature. However,at a news conference in January, Donovan said he couldn't prosecute Misch because as ugly and unsettling as his words were, they are protected speech under the First Amendment.

One of the conditions of Misch's release was that he surrender all of his remaining weapons, some of which are assault rifles, essentially stripping the 36-year-old Misch of his Second Amendment rights.

"The public safety comes first," Donovan asserted. "Those rights are diminished when there's a criminal charge pending where a court has found probable cause."

Asked if he thinks he may have prevented a massacre, Donovan responded, "I think we did our job."

Misch is the first person to be prosecuted under Vermont's new law limiting magazine capacity. If convicted, he faces one year in jail and a $500 fine.

Credits

Dan Levy

Copyright 2019 WNYT-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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