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Right-wing extremist plotted bloody overthrow of West Virginia’s state government: ‘We are at war’

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A jury quickly convicted a man accused of attempting to overthrow the West Virginia state government, MetroNews reported.

Thomas David Deegan, 39, was found guilty on one count of making a terrorist threat on Friday, after the 12-member jury deliberated for only an hour. He faces 1 to 3 years in prison and a fine of $5,000 to $25,000 when he is sentenced, in April.

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Deegan, who represented himself in court, was accused of the plot, which he spoke about in a conference call that was recorded in September.

“The conversation was the actual crime itself,” prosecutor Jason Wharton told MetroNews. “The jury was able to hear the entirety of the conference call as well as some recordings from the regional jail and some other testimony.”

He told participants on the call to shoot anyone who resists them.

He said on the call that he wanted to bring a large number of people to the West Virginia capitol building in Charleston and overtake the building. Deegan denied the charges.

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“It was one of 12 calls and was taken out of context,” he said. “I have studied laws and I see where they are going wrong. I just find errors. I never called myself a sovereign citizen.”

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Deegan intended to “remove several state government leaders from their offices, charge them with treason and replace them with sovereign citizens. After apparently setting up a sovereign citizen-style court system, those found guilty of treason would be put to death.”

He also discussed sending armed militants to local police departments.

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“We are at war,” Deegan said during one of the conference calls, according to the criminal complaint. “The more that come to Charleston, the less [likelihood] for bloodshed.”

He also said, “If you see the police coming and pulling up in a vehicle, I suggest you shoot them.”

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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