An upstate NY man has been arrested after allegedly plotting to blow himself up on the National Mall on Election Day next month.
Paul Rosenfeld, 56, was charged on Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Manhattan with building multiple explosives, including a 200-pound bomb, in his basement in Tappan, New York, U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said in a statement.
According to court papers, over the past two months, Rosenfeld allegedly sent letters and text messages to a Pennsylvania resident detailing his plan to detonate the bomb on the National Mall to draw attention to the "sortition" political system, in which government officials are randomly selected.
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"As alleged in the complaint, Paul M. Rosenfeld planned to detonate a large explosive to kill himself and draw attention to his radical political beliefs", Assistant Director-in-Charge William F. Sweeney Jr. said in a statement.
According to NBC New York, local authorities and the Federal Bureau of Investigation raided Paul Rosenfeld's upstate home and found eight-pounds of explosives that would eventually be used in the makeshift bomb.
"Rosenfeld's letters and text messages stated, in substance and in part, that he meant to 1) build an explosive device; 2) transport the explosive device to Washington D.C.; and 3) detonate this explosive device on November 6, 2018, on the National Mall in Washington D.C". He agreed to answer the officer's questions and said he ordered large quantities of black power - an explosive substance - over the Internet, which he transported from a location in New Jersey to his home in Tappan.
Rosenfeld, who told investigators he acted alone, had been planning his mission since at least August and had already conducted test detonations of smaller devices using black powder, the complaint said. "Fortunately, his plans were thwarted by the quick action of a concerned citizen and the diligent work of a host of our law enforcement partners and the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force".
Rosenfeld made his first appearance in NY federal court earlier Wednesday. He is also charged with interstate transportation and receipt of an explosive, which also has a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.
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