Appeals court upholds convictions in Kansas bomb plot

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WICHITA, Kan. (AP) – A federal appeals court has upheld the convictions and sentences of three militiamen who risk decades in prison for their roles in a foiled 2016 plot to slaughter Somali Muslims in southwestern Kansas.

The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected all arguments raised by lawyers for Gavin Wright, Curtis Allen and Patrick Stein. The court was not swayed by the allegations that the men had been trapped, nor by the flawed method of jury selection.

Jurors convicted them in 2018 of conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction and conspiring against civil rights in a plan to blow up a mosque and apartments housing Somalis in Garden City, approximately 350 kilometers west of Wichita.

Stein, the alleged ringleader, was sentenced to 30 years in prison. Allen, who drafted a manifesto for the group, was turned 25. Wright, who helped manufacture and test explosives at his mobile home business, was 26 years old.

Prior to their sentencing, the men’s lawyers had urged the court to consider what they called President Donald Trump’s rhetoric of encouraging violence. Lawyers reported at the time a tweet from Trump saying that “very bad people” were entangled in the South American migrant caravan and called it “an invasion” of the country.

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