Richard Holzer, who plead guilty to an attempt to firebomb a Colorado synagogue in 2019, has been sentenced to 20 years.
Although the plot was thwarted, U.S. District Judge Raymond Moore said Holzer had sought “to terrorize the Jewish community” of Pueblo, a city of 112,000 residents about 100 miles south of Denver.
“It is one of the most vulgar ... evil crimes that can be committed against an entire group of people,” Moore said while imposing the sentence sought by prosecutors.
Holzer declined to speak at the hearing.
The defendant pleaded guilty in October to one count of trying to obstruct religious services by force, and one count of attempting to destroy a building used in interstate commerce, according to his plea agreement.
Holzer, who lived in Pueblo, was arrested in November 2019 following an undercover sting by federal agents tracking his social media postings, in which he professed a hatred of Jews, according to an FBI arrest warrant affidavit.
Posing as fellow racists, undercover agents reached out to Holzer and later met with him as he broached the idea of blowing up the synagogue, the affidavit said. Ultimately, the agents provided him with inert pipe bombs and sticks of dynamite before arresting him, court documents showed.
The judge rejected arguments by defense lawyers that Holzer has renounced his racist views, noting that since his arrest he has reached out to other white supremacists and continued to invoke Nazi imagery.
“The notion that he’s turned some corner is fantasy,” Moore said.
Radicalized here in the States and unleashed upon the populace. This was somebody so awful even the Trump-era FBI brought him in.
And yes, he's a terrorist and he's going to jail. It's the slightly less stupid ones at large we have to worry about.
A sitting member of Congress appeared at a white nationalist convention Friday night, marking new GOP support for the racist movement. Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) spoke in Orlando, Florida, at the America First Political Action conference, a far-right event meant to mimic the establishment Republican Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).
After Gosar’s speech, AFPAC organizer Nick Fuentes, who marched in the 2017 white supremacist rally in Charlottesville and was outside the Capitol with his supporters during the Jan. 6 riot, took the podium that warned that “white people are done being bullied.” Fuentes praised the fatal riot as “awesome,” describing it as “light-hearted mischief.” He also mocked Gosar’s colleague, Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC), for needing a wheelchair, saying Cawthorn couldn’t “stand up” for his constituents.
“‘I’m gonna take a stand?’” Fuentes said. “How? How are you gonna do that?”
Gosar was joined at the event by former Rep. Steve King (R-IA), who lost his congressional committee seats after defending white nationalism.
Gosar attempted to distance himself from the white nationalist event Saturday morning at a panel on CPAC. Without mentioning what he was specifically referring to, Gosar said, “I want to tell you—I denounce when we talk about white racism. That’s not appropriate.”
The FBI is reportedly investigating a large bitcoin payment Fuentes and other far-right figures received ahead of the riot. A former Fuentes associate has claimed the white nationalist leader, who has also attempted to downplay the number of Jewish people who died in the Holocaust by comparing them to cookies made by Cookie Monster, has had his bank accounts frozen by federal authorities in the aftermath of the riot.
Even now, even after January 6, Republican members of Congress still show up at events with avowed white supremacist domestic terrorists. They have learned nothing, and still don't care.