Virginia 'Bible Study' Was Front for Militia Group Planning Violence: US Prosecutors
In court documents unsealed Tuesday, government prosecutors accused Virginia resident Fi Duong using a Bible study group as a cover for planning violence and seceding from the United States.
A Virginia man who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 started a militia-like group under the guise of a Bible study group and amassed weapons and explosive devices to be used in seceding from the United States, according to federal prosecutors.
In a complaint unsealed Tuesday, Fi Duong, 27, was accused of crimes including illegally breaching the Capitol and obstructing an official proceeding.
The charges were based on information from an undercover FBI agent and marks one of the first cases in which federal agents disclosed they had spied on Capitol rioters following the violent uprising.
According to the complaint, Duong first came to the attention of a Washington, D.C., undercover officer at the insurrection, calling himself an “operator” who later said he wore all black to look like an anti-fascist activist. Investigators later identified Duong in videos of protestors breaching the Capitol, the court document said, while he shouted “We’re coming for you Nancy” and pushed a fellow rioter toward the Senate side of the building.
He was wearing a mask with a wide grin, according to prosecutors.
The District of Columbia undercover officer kept in touch, and within a week had introduced Duong to an undercover FBI agent, the complaint said. Duong told the federal agent he belonged to a “cloak and dagger” militia-style group that was assembling a “robust network” of “freedom-loving, liberty-minded” Second Amendment supporters.
In a federal court appearance Friday in Washington, attorney Sabrina Schroff, who represents Duong, said the F.B.I. had entrapped her client and offered no evidence he had done anything except talk about recipes for bombs, The New York Times reported. The judge released Duong on bond and confined him to house arrest.
U.S. Magistrate Judge G. Michael Harvey said Duong had no criminal record and had ties to the community. He is is employed and lives with his parents and child in northern Virginia. The undercover agent “gave him every opportunity to step over the line, and at every point he chose not to,” the judge said. “Someone who showed so much concern for what the legal lines are should be given the opportunity — to show he can continue to stay within the lines.”
"For me, right now, my goal is in building the infrastructure first, to then building up the individuals that will compose of this, perhaps long after I'm gone," Duong allegedly told the undercover FBI agent in March, according to the complaint. "If I get into a gun fight with the feds and I don't make it, I want to be able to transfer as much wisdom to my son as possible," the court document said.
The undercover agent was ultimately invited to a meeting of the Bible study group, where he saw several firearms and boxes of ammunition and heard members discussing weapons, training classes in physical fitness, hand-to-hand combat and driving, according to the court filing
Duong had compiled a cache of weapons at his Virginia home, investigators said, including an AK-47 and five boxes of materials to make Molotov cocktails.
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