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Attorney: FBI Bomb Plot Informant Encouraged Suspects

Lakewood native Brandon Baxter expected to plead not guilty next week.

The lawyer for Brandon Baxter, a Lakewood man who is charged with four others of , said Wednesday his client was coached into participating in the scheme by an FBI informant working the case.

Cleveland attorney John Pyle, who took on Baxter’s case this week, said his client would not have — and could not have — gone through with the plot if not for the FBI's involvement.

Pyle said his client will plead not guilty next week.

Baxter, 20, Douglas L. Wright, 26, Anthony Hayne, 35, Connor C. Stevens, 20, and Joshua S. Stafford, 23, are each charged with one count of conspiracy and one count of attempted use of an explosive. They were arrested Monday night.

According to , the agency used a secret informant and an undercover agent to infiltrate the group of self-proclaimed anarchists.

“You can just see flatly between the lines in the government’s complaint about how much (the informant) was doing to encourage, facilitate and suggest,” Pyle said. “That’s the gist of it.” 

The informant — who was convicted of cocaine possession in 1990 and robbery in 1991 — began working for the FBI in July 2011. The undercover FBI agent has worked for the agency for 15 years.

The informant met Wright at a Cleveland protest in October 2011, the affidavit said. 

The investigation began after Wright told the informant that he and several other anarchists wanted to "send a message to corporations" by causing "violence and destruction to physical property in a variety of ways," the affidavit said. The informant eventually met the other four accused men.

Baxter, who’s been movement, had some issues with the government, Pyle conceded.

“There was some frustration on his part and other dimensions to his thinking, but he just didn’t have the capacity to do this,” he said. “He had no money. The government had to facilitate what they did. Otherwise they wouldn’t have done it.”

Christophe Kochheiser, who knows Baxter and the others from the Occupy Cleveland events, said he was shocked to hear about the charges.

“There’s nothing malicious about him at all,” Kochheiser said, adding he doesn't believe Baxter "is capable" of carrying out what he's charged with.

Represented by different attorneys, each of the men is scheduled to appear at 11 a.m. May 7 at the federal courthouse in Cleveland for a detention hearing and a preliminary hearing.

They will remain in custody until then.

Lola WItherspoon May 03, 2012 at 01:46 PM
Making excuses for someone who had anything to do with a plan for terrorism is ridiculous. Are we really expected to believe that he was like some 12 year old who smokes a cigarette due to peer pressure? I'm not buying it. Not even in the slightest. Maybe they made the conditions easier for him, but he had the thought and intent in the first place. It's like going wandering around looking for crack cocaine, on a back country road in amishville. You can't get arrested for thoughts of smoking crack and seeking it out, but then a drug dealer comes along and you get busted because he's an undercover cop, right? But, then you plead that you should be let go because you really just wanted to fantasize about smoking crack and never had full intention to actually buy a crack rock. See how ridiculous that sounds? Yeah. I also think it's ludicris that they defended his character saying he's not capable of anyting malicious. Who is he to judge and decide that? ANYONE is capable of being malicious, no matter how sedate or docile or upstanding they appear on the surface. So many factors can play into someone "falling down," and going off the deep end, but that doesn't seem to be the case here anyway, if he had an extensive arrest record. Furthurmore, anyone who wanted to gain attention by causing damage to corporations should instead get a job and try to focus on their own life. These kids find identity in being destructive, and that's damaging to everyone.
tom m May 03, 2012 at 02:25 PM
lola it was George Bush's fault
Derpity Derp Derp May 04, 2012 at 07:26 AM
Allow me to make a grand sweeping judgment of someone I have never met or spoken to in any fashion, and have only an accusation and an affidavit to know them by! By god, my opinions are fact!
Scott Rollins May 04, 2012 at 10:10 PM
Well if it wasnt the FBI, maybe it was video games.
marandalaw May 08, 2012 at 06:27 PM
I just wanted to say thank you...To My Military MP Friends,That Listen,React,and Respond.

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