Prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s office offered a plea bargain on Tuesday to the North Carolina man arrested on Dec. 4 for entering D.C.’s Comet Ping Pong pizza restaurant with an assault rifle, claiming he was investigating whether a child sex ring operated there.
During a Jan. 24 status hearing at the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, Assistant U.S. Attorney Demian Ahn told a federal judge a plea offer had been made to Edgar Maddison Welch, 29, who has been charged with multiple federal and D.C. gun-related offenses in connection with the Comet pizza case.
Ahn did not disclose the terms of the plea offer, and the offer was not entered into the public court records as of late Tuesday.
“The offer was not made public,” William Miller, a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s office, told the Washington Blade
U.S. District Court Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson scheduled another status hearing for Feb. 10, when Welch and his Public Defender Service attorney are expected to disclose whether Welch accepts the plea offer. If he does, the terms of the offer will be publicly disclosed.
At a court hearing on Dec. 16, Welch pled not guilty to a federal charge of interstate transportation of a firearm and ammunition and D.C. charges of assault with a dangerous weapon and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime of violence.
D.C. police said Welch fired his rifle at least three times inside the restaurant after frightened customers and employees fled the premises when they saw him enter with the rifle strapped to his shoulders.
Police said no one was injured and Welch surrendered to police peacefully after he determined there were no signs that a child sex ring reportedly linked to Hillary Clinton was operating in a hidden room at the restaurant. Welch told police he became convinced such a ring was exploiting children at the restaurant after reading what authorities say were fake “news” stories posted online.
Comet Ping Pong, which is owned by gay businessman James Alefantis, became the target of harassing phone calls, including death threats, after the fake stories linking it to a pedophile ring were posted on social media outlets and viewed by hundreds of thousands of people across the country.
At Tuesday’s hearing, Judge Brown said Welch, who has been held in jail since the time of his arrest, will remain in jail until at least the time of his trial.