Former U.S. soldier pleaded not guilty to allegations that he planned an attack on his on unit

National News

U.S.A. (CNN) (07/07/20)— A former U.S. Army soldier facing terrorism charges pleaded not guilty to allegations that he was planning a mass casualty attack on his own unit by sending sensitive information to an extremist group.

Ethan Melzer, age 22, of Louisville, Kentucky, was a private in the U.S. Army who authorities say was planning an attack on his unit by sending sensitive details about his unit’s location, movements, and security to an extremist group known as Order of the Nine Angels or O9A.

Members of O9A have supported violent, Neo-Nazi, anti-Semitic, and Satanic beliefs and have expressed admiration for Nazis including Adolf Hitler and Islamic Jihadists including Osama Bin Laden, according to prosecutors.

Melzer is currently being held in federal prison in Manhattan, where he faces charges after the alleged plot was thwarted by the FBI and U.S. Army in May.

The former solider was indicted in June on charges of conspiracy to murder U.S. nationals, attempted murder of U.S. nationals, conspiracy to murder U.S. service members, attempted murder of U.S. service members, provision and attempted provision of material support to terrorists, and conspiracy to murder and maim in a foreign country.

A former US soldier pleaded not guilty to charges of terrorism.

Prosecutors allege that in April, while stationed in Europe, Melzer was told his unit would be redeployed to another country and that he shared the information about the move to members of O9A using an encrypted device.

The indictment alleges Melzer confessed to his role in plotting an attack on his unit during a May 30 interview with authorities.

During the interview he allegedly told investigators that he intended for the attack “to result in the deaths of as many of his fellow service members as possible,” and declared himself a traitor against the U.S.

Prosecutors allege that Melzer consumed propaganda disseminated by the O9A and ISIS.

“As the indictment lays out, Ethan Melzer plotted a deadly ambush on his fellow soldiers in the service of a diabolical cocktail of ideologies laced with hate and violence,” Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers said in a statement issued in late June. “Our women and men in uniform risk their lives for our country, but they should never face such peril at the hands of one of their own.”

Acting U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss called Melzer the “enemy within” in the same statement, noting that he “allegedly attempted to orchestrate a murderous ambush on his own unit.”

In late June, Jennifer Willis, an attorney for Melzer, told CNN, “We have no comment at this time.” CNN has reached out to an attorney for Melzer for an updated comment.

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