NEW YORK - A Tennessee man accused of plotting to burn down a mosque in the heart of a Muslim hamlet in rural New York and start a gun battle with residents has pleaded not guilty and faces trial in September, court records showed on Tuesday.
Robert Doggart, 63, pleaded not guilty on Monday in US District Court in Chattanooga, Tennessee, to a charge of solicitation to commit a civil rights violation. His trial was set to begin on Sept. 21.
Doggart, who made a failed bid for the US Congress in 2014 as an independent with highly conservative views, was arrested in April and pleaded guilty to interstate communication of threats as part of a plea agreement. The agreement was later thrown out.
Doggart was indicted this month on a charge of "soliciting others to violate federal civil rights laws by intentionally defacing, damaging or destroying religious property, because of the religious character of that property, or attempting to do so."
If convicted, Doggart faces up to 10 years in prison. He has been ordered to house detention since his arrest on $30,000 bond.