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Justice Department Indicts White Supremacist Who Allegedly Defaced A Jewish Temple

HANCOCK, MI. - A man from Michigan has been indicted for allegedly conspiring with others to deface Temple Jacob, a Jewish synagogue located in Hancock, Michigan, the Department of Justice announced.

Based on court documents, it is alleged that Nathan Weeden, a 23-year-old resident of Houghton, along with Richard Tobin from New Jersey and Yousef Barasneh from Wisconsin, allegedly vandalized Temple Jacob by placing swastikas and symbols associated with The Base, a white supremacist group that allegedly operates across multiple states.

In September 2019, alleged The Base members Weeden, Tobin, and Barasneh were said to have utilized an encrypted messaging platform to engage in discussions regarding potential acts of property damage targeting African Americans and Jewish Americans. Weeden and his associates named their plan "Operation Kristallnacht," a term derived from the German phrase "Night of Broken Glass." 


This phrase refers to the events that occurred on November 9-10, 1938, during which Jewish individuals were killed by Nazis and their homes, synagogues, schools, and businesses were burned and destroyed. According to the Department of Justice, it is claimed that Weeden executed this action on September 21, 2019. During this incident, he allegedly spray-painted swastikas and symbols linked to The Base on the exterior walls of Temple Jacob.

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Weeden has reportedly been charged with one count of conspiracy against rights and one count of damage to religious property. Weeden could potentially receive a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, as well as a maximum penalty of one year in prison and a $100,000 fine, respectively. Weeden was reportedly taken into custody on June 29.

The case was investigated by the FBI, with assistance from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Hancock Police Department.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Nils Kessler for the Western District of Michigan and Trial Attorney Eric Peffley of the Civil Rights Division's Criminal Section.

The Justice Department says an indictment is considered to be an allegation. Defendants are considered innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

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