Eric Feight gets 8 years in ‘death ray’ plot against Muslims
Helper in plot against Muslims admits error
By Robert Gavin
Updated 10:22 pm, Wednesday, December 16, 2015
In a show of leniency, U.S. District Court Chief Judge Gary Sharpe on Wednesday sentenced a Columbia County man to eight years and one month in federal prison for his role in a plot to silently massacre Muslims in the Capital Region.
Eric Feight, 57, of Stockport, could have received 15 years in prison for pleading guilty in January 2014 to providing material support to terrorists.
Instead, the chief judge imposed a term on Feight at the lenient end of federal sentencing guidelines, which given his incarceration in county jails since his arrest June 2013 could conceivably have him free within six years.
At the same time, the judge told the married father of three children that there was no mistaking the crime he committed.
“There are always consequences,” Sharpe told Feight. “You understood what it was you were doing.”
Feight downplayed providing Glendon Scott Crawford, a member of the Ku Klux Klan, with a remote control device to set off a mobile, radiation-emitting death ray that Crawford hoped to use on targets that included mosques in Albany and Schenectady, an Islamic school in Colonie, the Executive Mansion in Albany and the White House.
Feight knew Crawford from General Electric in Schenectady, where Crawford worked as a mechanic and Feight was a subcontractor.
Crawford convinced Feight — whom he nicknamed “software guy” and “Yoda” — to join his scheme, unaware that two major players were undercover FBI agents. Crawford and Feight were both arrested June 18, 2013.
In August, Crawford was convicted at trial of attempting to produce or use a radiological dispersal device, a law Congress passed in 2004 to crack down on the terror threat of a “dirty bomb.” He was the first person in America convicted under the law and faces life in prison at his sentencing by Sharpe on March 16. If Feight’s remote control worked for Crawford, “Who knows who would have been hurt by this machine?” Sharpe asked.
The judge said the case was bizarre, and that it was bizarre that someone such as Feight — who had no prior criminal record and belonged to organizations such as the Elks lodge — was lured in by Crawford’s “nonsense.”
Feight and his attorney, Peter Moschetti, told the judge that Feight believed Crawford wanted to go after “terror cells in the U.S.” Feight said he gave Crawford a remote control he believed would never have been able to properly work. Feight also said the only reason he did not immediately alert authorities to Crawford’s plot is that he feared for his family’s safety.
Feight said his concerns started on Nov. 14, 2012, after Crawford introduced him to two the undercover agents — Crawford believed they were Klan-connected, Southern-based rock quarry businessmen — in J. Watts Barista House, a now-closed coffee shop on Mohawk Avenue in Scotia.
“Going to that meeting was the worst mistake I ever made,” Feight told the judge as Connie Feight, his wife of 30 years, and their three daughters looked on. “I’ll regret it for the rest of my life.”
At that meeting, Feight said he was nervous about being involved but changed his mind with the “direction things were going, and then certainly after the elections.” President Barack Obama had just been re-elected.
“It’s like, OK, you know that old saying is right, you know the only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing,” Feight said. “I’ve done nothing for a lot of years but shoot my mouth off and see how effective that’s been. ... I would still like to maintain as much plausible deniability as I can, like you say, in for a penny, in for a pound.”
Earlier, Assistant U.S. Stephen Green cast doubt on the notion that Feight was in fear. He noted Feight drank shots of Jameson whiskey with Crawford and the would-be businessmen and spoke to them about his wife and kids.
Feight told the judge he accepts full responsibility for his crime.
Green and Assistant U.S. Attorney Rick Belliss wrote a memo to Sharpe in August saying that said Feight was cooperative, entered a timely guilty plea and expressed remorse but asked Sharpe to sentence Feight within the maximum time under federal sentencing guidelines.
Eighteen letters of support were sent to the judge on Feight’s behalf. Feight will also receive three years supervised release.
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