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Alabama Man Charged with Bringing 11 Molotov Cocktails and Several Loaded Firearms to the U.S. Capitol Intends to Plead Guilty, Feds Say


Lonnie Coffman

An Alabama man who allegedly brought 11 Molotov cocktails and five loaded firearms to the U.S. Capitol has agreed to a plea deal, prosecutors told a federal judge.

Authorities claim to have found the stash of deadly weapons inside 71-year-old Lonnie Coffman’s red GMC Sierra truck, after U.S. Capitol Police performed explosive sweeps outside the perimeter of the building on Jan. 6.

“Through their search of Mr. Coffman’s vehicle, the Capitol Police recovered a substantial cache of weaponry,” U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly summarized, in a ruling affirming Coffman’s pre-trial detention. “Specifically, the investigating officers identified a loaded 9mm Hi-Point handgun; a loaded Windham Weaponry rifle; a loaded Hatfield Gun Company SAS shotgun; several large-capacity ammunition feeding devices loaded with more than ten rounds of ammunition; hundreds of rounds of ammunition; a crossbow with bolts; several machetes; camouflage smoke devices; and a stun gun.”

Lonnie Coffman firearms

Authorities also found 11 mason jars with a flammable liquid, a hole punched in the top of each jar, and lighters and rags, a concoction traditionally described as a Molotov cocktail.

Police had executed the sweeps that unearthed Coffman’s cache after sealing off the area in response to the discovery of undetonated explosive devices found outside Democratic National Committee and Republican National Committee headquarters.

Coffman is not accused of having planted those bombs, and some eight months after the Jan. 6 attack, the FBI released additional video in their ongoing hunt for the person who did.

Prosecutors announced Coffman’s plea agreement late afternoon on Wednesday.

“The parties have reached an agreement to resolve this case prior to trial through a plea agreement,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Friedman wrote in a notice, proposing a Sept. 29 hearing to make the deal official.

The filing contains no information about what Coffman intends to plead guilty to or whether he will cooperate with the government. A grand jury charged him with an 11-count indictment less than a week after the attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Along with the weapons, authorities also say they found Coffman’s scrawled note preceded by an Abraham Lincoln quotation.

“We the people are the rightful masters of both the Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution,” the missive began, followed by a list of perceived enemies (“bad guys”) and allies (“good guys”).

Court records indicate that Coffman also wrote what he believed to be contact information for Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas), attempting to drive to his home in Washington, D.C. One Cruz staffer appeared to be disturbed by a call Coffman placed.

“A staff [redacted] from Senator Cruz’s office further explained to the United States Capitol Police that Mr. Coffman had seemed ‘unbalanced’ or ‘not 100% there’ during the call,” the judge summarized in a detention ruling.

“While Mr. Coffman ‘did not seem threatening’ on the phone, his comments ‘were odd enough to record,'” the ruling continues. “The staff also noted that Mr. Coffman seemed ‘to be coming from the ‘friend’ angle in wanting to . . . help with the election fraud he saw.'”

Senator Cruz tried to block the certification of President Joe Biden’s election, proposing an investigation into election-fraud claims rejected by dozens of courts and even former President Donald Trump’s relevant prosecutorial and security officials.

(Images via DOJ)

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Law&Crime's managing editor Adam Klasfeld has spent more than a decade on the legal beat. Previously a reporter for Courthouse News, he has appeared as a guest on NewsNation, NBC, MSNBC, CBS's "Inside Edition," BBC, NPR, PBS, Sky News, and other networks. His reporting on the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell was featured on the Starz and Channel 4 documentary "Who Is Ghislaine Maxwell?" He is the host of Law&Crime podcast "Objections: with Adam Klasfeld."