A federal judge has ordered a New Jersey “sovereign citizen” to stand trial on a variety of criminal charges – regardless of whether he is, as he claims to be, the Crown Prince Emperor El Bey Bigbay Bagby.
William McRae, of Ewing, asked a federal court to remove him from the criminal case filed in Bucks County, where he has been charged with using fake diplomatic tags, drunken driving, driving without a license, and failure to pay child support.
The 41-year-old McRae claims U.S. laws don’t apply to him because he's a member of the Abannaki Aboriginal Nation -- which the Southern Poverty Law Center describes a "fringe black separatist group."
"(The sovereign citizen group) propounds a bizarre ideology that's a mix of pseudo-scientific ideas about white people and groundless theories about being immune to U.S. laws that originated in white supremacist groups," the SPLC reported.
McRae, who claims to be the heir to the Powhatan Renape Nation, argues that he is not a citizen of the United States and has petitioned Gov. Chris Christie to grant hundreds of acres of tribal land in New Jersey.
"I'm not an actor and I'm not a comedian," McRae said. "I'm a real person in the flesh."
The tribe lost in recent years the 237-acre reservation it leased from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection due to financial mismanagement.
McRae, who refers to himself as the Crown Prince Emperor, has managed to gain control of the tribe’s phone number after paying the unpaid bill and has accepted artifacts on behalf of the tribe.
"We don't know where he came from. We don't know anything about him," said Obie Batchelor, a Powhatan Renape member from Camden County. "He just popped up out of the woodwork. You can't just pop up and claim yourself chief."
McRae claims he can trace his ancestry to Chief Powhatan in eastern Virginia and has unsuccessfully attempted to raise $150,000 to gain control of the tribe’s old reservation.
“I am getting back on that land, whether it's professionally or whether we have to go out there and do it ourselves," McRae said.
The self-proclaimed crown prince has also urged hip-hop star Kanye West to join the tribe.
McRae’s attorney, Alfred Tar-El, said the “crown prince” intended to keep fighting the charges and planned to file a second petition in U.S. District Court.
The Abannaki Nation, which is based in Philadelphia, incorporates some teachings by the late Nation of Islam founder Elijah Muhammad – such as his view that whites are a “grafted race” – and members refer to themselves as Muurs or Moors.
[Image via Wikipedia Commons]