A Napa car mechanic who fancied himself a right-wing radical terrorist intent on blowing up "a Democrat building" in the wake of Joe Biden's election didn't adequately express any remorse, and now a federal judge is tossing his plea deal.
Ian Benjamin Rogers, the 46-year-old pictured below looking as douchey as possible wearing army fatigues in a Delorean, was arrested in late January 2021 and found in possession of multiple pipe bombs and an arsenal of weapons. He also had a "White Privilege Card" that he'd found somewhere on the internet, and the FBI intercepted texts in which he and a co-conspirator plotted to plant bombs or toss Molotov cocktails at Governor Gavin Newsom's office in Sacramento, Democratic Party headquarters in Sacramento, and at the offices of Twitter and Facebook, all in the name of Trump.
Rogers reached a plea agreement with federal prosecutors, agreeing to serve seven to nine years for his plot. But on Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer — the brother of recently retired Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer — rejected the deal as too lenient. Breyer cited, in particular, a statement Rogers made to a probation officer about regretting that he had gotten into a situation "that allowed the government to destroy my life."
Per the Associated Press, Breyer said in the hearing, "In 23 years I’ve never seen that type of statement. I’ve never seen a defendant come in and simply say, 'I regret I was caught.'" And he suggested that Rogers remains "a substantial danger to the community."
Prosecutors argued that they thought the sentence was sufficient given that no buildings were actually blown up, to which Breyer replied, "I don’t think we have to wait, in light of the Oklahoma City bombing. I don’t think we have to wait until a building is destroyed."
Also facing sentencing is Rogers's co-conspirator, 38-year-old Jarrod Copeland of Vallejo, and Breyer scheduled another hearing on October 27 to reconsider their sentences.
"He had a map that he disseminated showing the exact location of the John Burton [Democratic Headquarters] building,” Breyer said. “He had scoped it out and determined that the CHP and the fire department were in close proximity to that building. If you’re going to try to convince me that this is just talk, just speech … you’re going to have to address all those acts."
Rogers's defense argued that this was all just fantasy, and that he "regrets terribly" the fact that he took part in this plotting. And Rogers himself has previously said it was all just "thinking about burning down a building in a drunken state."
But Rogers has shot himself in the foot multiple times — he sounds like a real gem! — in one instance telling investigators he didn't want to hurt anyone except "people who are really causing problems in this world, like George Soros."
Breyer certainly has a point, and if you need proof of the dangerous downstream affects of the rhetoric of Alex Jones, Steve Bannon, and Fox News, you can look no further than this guy.
On Rogers's phone, investigators found texts in which he said to Copeland, "We can attack Twitter or the democrats you pick... I think we can attack either easily," and "I want to blow up a democrat building bad." Referring to Trump and the recent election of Biden, he also texted, "I hope 45 goes to war if he doesn’t I will."
Rogers had a terrorist arsenal at his Napa home and business that included 50 firearms including illegal assault rifles and automatic weapons, 15,000 rounds of ammunition, and several pounds of gun powder. He also had a copy of The Anarchist Cookbook and five homemade pipe bombs.
In addition to the federal charges, for which he could face 20 years or more behind bars, he also separately faces illegal firearms and bomb charges in Napa County.