Jan 12, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Neo-Nazi leader sentenced to 7 years for threatening Jews, journalists

Photo of the front of the Justice Department building, with an American flag hanging off the side

The U.S. Department of Justice building in Washington, D.C. Photo: Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The leader of a Neo-Nazi group was sentenced in Seattle to seven years in prison on Tuesday for his role in a plot to threaten and intimidate Jewish people, journalists and advocates working to expose antisemitism.

Why it matters: In late January last year, Kaleb Cole, 25, and his conspirators sent threatening posters by gluing them to people's homes or mailing them to intended targets, who were primarily Jewish or journalists of color, federal prosecutors say. The posters contained violent images and warned that "you have been visited by your local Nazis."

  • Some of their victims were forced to leave their homes for some time or install security systems, per the Justice Department. One purchased a firearm while another left her job as a journalist.
  • Cole was convicted in the Western District of Washington on one count of interfering with a federally protected activity because of religion, three counts of mailing threatening communications and one count of conspiring to commit offenses against the U.S.
  • Three other co-conspirators previously pleaded guilty.

What they're saying: "Kaleb Cole helped lead a violent, nationwide neo-Nazi group," U.S. Attorney Nick Brown for the Western District of Washington said in a statement.

  • "He repeatedly promoted violence, stockpiled weapons, and organized 'hate camps.'"
  • "Today the community and those Mr. Cole and his co-conspirators targeted, stand-up to say hate has no place here," Brown noted.
  • "He tried to intimidate journalists and advocates with hate-filled and threatening posters, tried to amplify their fear. Instead they faced him in court and their courage has resulted in the federal prison sentence imposed today."

Worth noting: About 25% of Jewish people in the U.S. have experienced some form of antisemitism, according to the American Jewish Committee's 2021 State of Antisemitism in America Report.

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