TOPEKA, Kan (WLNS/AP) – A man described by a prosecutor as a Satanist plotting to overthrow the government may have threatened to attack a Michigan home in his efforts to create “chaos.”
A defense attorney said the man is just an internet troll “spouting off,” according to an Associated Press report by John Hanna and Roxana Hegeman.
Private First-Class Jarrett William Smith, 24, stationed at Fort Riley, Kansas, is accused of providing information about explosives to an FBI undercover agent on an encrypted messaging service and of threatening to burn down the house of a far-left-leaning “antifa” member, The AP reports.
The threat was transmitted from Kansas to Michigan but it’s unclear where the house is located, according to the report.
Smith pleaded not guilty on Thursday, Sept. 26, to two charges of distributing explosives information and a charge of making a threatening interstate communication, the report states. He will be detained until his trial.
Smith was planning to overthrow the U.S. government, Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony Mattivi said during the court hearing Thursday, according to the report.
An FBI affidavit said Smith planned to do that by creating “chaos,” which included attacking a news organization with a car bomb and distributing information about explosives “for the glory of his Satanist religion,” The AP reports.
CNN reported that it was the targeted news organization, citing two sources familiar with the investigation, according to the report.
The FBI affidavit alleges that Smith described building a cellphone call-triggered bomb and a plan to kill “antifa” activists, according to The AP. The affidavit also accuses him of posting on Facebook that he wanted to travel to Ukraine to join up with the paramilitary group Azov Batallion, which Mattivi cited in his argument to keep Smith in government custody until his trial.
In August, Smith used a chatroom to discuss “hunting for feds in your area,” Mattivi said in the report. When the FBI undercover agent asked if there were any targets in Texas, Smith reportedly mentioned “Beto,” which would appear to mean former Texas state Rep. Beto O’Rourke who is running for the Democratic presidential nomination.
There was no further elaboration from Mattivi on the plot to overthrow the government or the allegation that Smith is a Satanist, except that he likes “black metal” music, The AP reports.
Defense Attorney Rich Federico argued in court Thursday that Smith was being prosecuted for distributing information easily available to anyone with internet access – he easily found bomb manuals with a Google search, according to the report.
Smith is a young man “having a difficult transition in his Army life,” Federico said.
Smith, from South Carolina, joined the Army in 2017. He trained at Fort Benning, Georgia. He was then stationed at Fort Bliss, Texas, from November 2017 to June 2019 when he was relocated to Fort Riley, Kansas.