GAINESVILLE - A Georgia man who pleaded guilty to federal explosives charges in what prosecutors described as a plot against the government testified in federal court Thursday that two other men accused in the plot aren't violent.
Dan Roberts testified in the trial of Ray Adams and Samuel Crump before U.S. District Judge Richard Story in Gainesville. Adams and Crump face charges of conspiring and attempting to make ricin.
Roberts, Adams, Crump and Frederick Thomas were arrested in November 2011after surveillance by an undercover informant who infiltrated their meetings at homes, during car rides and at a Waffle House restaurant.
Roberts and Thomas pleaded guilty in April 2012 to conspiring to get an unregistered explosive and an illegal gun silencer. Story sentenced them each to serve five years in prison.
Prosecutors say Crump and Adams conspired to make the toxin to use against government officials and federal buildings, while defense attorneys have said the pair was simply talking big and never intended to follow through on the bravado.
Roberts testified that he had been a member of a group called the Militia of Georgia, but that he and Thomas started talking in late 2010 about forming a new militia group. At various times between April and September of 2011, Roberts and others held meetings that were sometimes attended by Adams and Crump.
During testimony last week by Joe Sims, the government informant who infiltrated their group, prosecutors played tapes Sims made of conversations between Roberts, Thomas, Adams, Crump and others. In the recorded discussions, the men can be heard talking about a wide variety of topics, including recruiting new members, what kind of weapons they would need for an armed uprising and how they could use toxins to poison government officials.
Roberts testified that the men had no violent intentions and that most of their talk and activity centered on emergency preparedness, including securing food, learning first aid and target practice. Sometimes they talked about their dislike of the federal government, but they never planned to carry out any violence against the government, he said.
Roberts said he had known Crump for several years before their arrest and said they shared a mutual interest in motorcycles. Crump was an outgoing person with a good social life who was interesting to talk to, Roberts said.
Roberts met Adams in a Walmart parking lot before a meeting at Thomas' house several months before their arrest. Adams was a quiet person, he said.