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Vermont man who harassed black lawmaker faces gun charge

February 7, 2019
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Max Misch, a self-described white nationalist, walks out of the Bennington County courtroom, Thursday afternoon, Feb. 7, 2019, in Bennington, Vt. Misch, who has harassed Vermont's only female black legislator who later resigned, pleaded not guilty on Thursday to two counts of possessing illegal, large capacity gun magazines. (Holly Pelczynski/The Banner via AP)

BENNINGTON, Vt. (AP) — A self-described white nationalist who has harassed Vermont’s only female black legislator who later resigned pleaded not guilty on Thursday to two counts of possessing illegal, large capacity gun magazines.

Max Misch, 36, was ordered not to possess, use or buy firearms and to have no contact with former Rep. Kiah Morris, her husband or Misch’s ex-wife. The judge also granted the state’s request to have the Vermont State Police confiscate Misch’s weapons and ammunition to ensure that he abides by the conditions.

“When people talk about stockpiling weapons and ammunition, talk about white supremacy, that concerns me,” said Attorney General T.J. Donovan who attended the arraignment.

According to an affidavit, Vermont State Police investigated after learning in January that Misch had allegedly purchased an AK-47 and several 30-round magazines. Last year, the Vermont Legislature passed a law banning high capacity magazines.

Misch’s ex-wife told police that she had disclosed to her therapist concerns about Misch purchasing weapons, large capacity magazines and stockpiling ammunition, the police affidavit said. The therapist alerted police, according to the affidavit. Misch’s ex-wife said Misch “had a predatory nature and tries to intimidate people physically and through the internet,” the affidavit said.

Police searched his home on Wednesday and found two 30-round magazines, police said. Donovan said he believes it’s the first time that someone has been charged with illegally possessing such magazines in Vermont.

Misch’s lawyer declined to comment after the arraignment.

She tried to fight the court order that he not have, use or buy weapons, saying he has received death threats and wishes to possess them for his own personal safety but the judge imposed the condition.

Morris resigned in September after being racially harassed online, and the victim of other incidents. Vermont State Police and the attorney general’s office investigated and found that Misch’s harassment was protected by free speech and violated no laws so prosecutors declined to prosecute .

Misch showed up at a press conference last month when officials announced the findings. He told reporters afterward that he’s an online troll out of boredom and because “it’s fun.”

Donovan called the case “a dynamic situation.”

“We’re going to continue to do our job, and investigate the facts and the evidence that we know that bias incidences and hate crimes are happening in this state. We have zero tolerance for it,” he said. “We’ll investigate it and when the evidence is sufficient we will prosecute people for these acts of hate.”

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This story has been corrected to remove an inaccurate source of a press conference.

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