The North Carolina father who took an AR-15 to “self-investigate” the claim that the popular D.C. pizzeria Comet Ping Pong was a clandestine Hillary Clinton pedophilia ring has pleaded guilty today to weapons possession. As part of his plea deal, 28-year-old Edgar Maddison Welch will serve time for two weapons charges, and prosecutors will drop a third that would’ve carried a mandatory five-year minimum sentence.
Reports say Welch has also agreed to surrender three firearms and a box of ammunition, and pay $5,744 to cover the damage inflicted by bullets he shot into Comet Ping Pong’s computers, an office door, and (somewhat ironically) a ping-pong table when he charged into the busy restaurant last December to see if the #PizzaGate conspiracy theory held any truth. Fake-news stories said the ring operated out of Comet’s basement, a secure location since Clinton campaign chair John Podesta sometimes ate at the joint. They also contended it was a satanic ritual grounds and a place where cannibalism occurred. As Welch later admitted, “The intel on this wasn’t 100 percent.”
Authorities say, regardless, his ill-advised decision to drive 350 miles to D.C. in his Prius to get “a closer look” that day sent families and employees fleeing the premises. He didn’t hurt anyone, but did shoot the place up pretty well, and left after he found no evidence of child sex slaves. He’ll remain in jail until his sentencing hearing starts on June 22. It’s not clear yet what each side will be seeking. He could serve up to 20 years total, but the plea agreement suggests 18 to 24 months for the interstate transport of firearms, plus 18 to 60 months for assault with a deadly weapon.