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New York man charged with planning suicide bombing in Washington on Election Day

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Federal authorities were holding a New York man who they said planned to blow himself up on Washington’s National Mall on Election Day in November to promote his ideology that requires government leaders to be randomly selected.

Paul Rosenfeld, 56, was charged on Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Manhattan with building multiple explosives, including a 200-pound bomb, in his basement in Tappan, New York, U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said in a statement.

“Had he been successful, Rosenfeld’s alleged plot could have claimed the lives of innocent bystanders and caused untold destruction,” William Sweeney, assistant director in charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, said in a statement.

Rosenfeld is being held without bail until his arraignment, which has been set for Nov. 9, Dawn Dearden, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s office, said by telephone.

He was charged with manufacturing a destructive device and interstate transportation and receipt of an explosive, each of which carries a maximum 10-year prison sentence, prosecutors said.

His attorney, Rachel Martin of the Federal Defenders of New York, had no comment.

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After he was picked up for questioning on Tuesday, Rosenfeld told an FBI agent that he planned to take a bomb to Washington and blow himself up on Nov. 6, Election Day, on the National Mall, the area between the U.S. Capitol and the Lincoln Memorial that includes the Washington Monument, according to a complaint.

Federal agents first learned of the plot after Rosenfeld described his plans in letters and text messages he sent to an unidentified person in Pennsylvania between August and September, the complaint said.

Rosenfeld told investigators that the purpose of the dramatic suicide he planned was to draw attention to his belief in “sortition,” it said.

The Sortition Foundation, a U.K.-based group that promotes the ideology, defines it on its website as “the use of random selection to populate assemblies or fill political positions.” The organization did not immediately respond to a request for comment or to say whether Rosenfeld is a member.

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After searching Rosenfeld’s home, agents found a 200-pound bomb in the basement filled with explosive black powder, the complaint said.

Rosenfeld, who told investigators he acted alone, had been planning his mission since at least August and had already conducted test detonations of smaller devices using black powder, the complaint said.

Reporting by Peter Szekely; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and David Gregorio

Report typos and corrections to [email protected].
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Record plunge in manufacturing for New York region: NY Fed

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Manufacturing activity in New York State took a record dive this month and fell into contraction, suddenly reversing recent gains, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York reported Monday.

The surprising drop was another worrying sign for the US manufacturing sector, a day ahead of the start of a Federal Reserve meeting that comes as markets clamor for signs the central bank will cut interest rates soon to preserve economic growth.

Manufacturing has been a weak spot for the American economy this year as global demand slows and President Donald Trump pursues a multi-front trade war with some of America's largest trading partners.

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Egypt’s ousted President Mohammed Morsi collapses and dies in court, state TV says

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Mohammed Morsi, the former Egyptian president who was ousted by the military in 2013, has died after collapsing in court, state TV said on Monday.

Egypt's public broadcaster said the 67-year-old former president was attending a session in his trial on espionage charges when he blacked out and then died. His body was taken to a hospital, it said.

Morsi, who hailed from Egypt's largest Islamist group, the now outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, was elected president in 2012 in the country's first free elections following the ouster the year before of longtime leader Hosni Mubarak.

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NBC SCOTUS reporter Pete Williams: ‘I don’t know what the Court wins’ in anti-gay Sweetcakes case ‘except time’

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NBC News' Pete Williams has won three national news Emmy awards. He has a reputation for offering very factual reports with little to no personal opinion. Williams for decades has primarily covered the U.S. Supreme Court and Justice Department.

Monday morning on MSNBC Williams gave his report on the Supreme Court's order in the "Sweetcakes" case, involving an Oregon Christian couple who refused to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. The case is exceptionally more complicated than that – including alleged doxxing of the same-sex couple and the subsequent death threats they say they received.

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