'Pizzagate' gunman influenced by Clinton fake news pleads guilty

'Pizzagate' gunman pleads guilty to two charges

Welch allegedly walked into Comet Ping Pong, a restaurant in northwest Washington, around 3 p.m. on December 4 carrying a loaded AR-15 rifle and a.38 caliber handgun.

Edgar Welch appeared in federal court and pleaded guilty to a federal charge of transporting a firearm and ammunition, as well as a charge of assault with a unsafe weapon.

Edgar Welch, 28, of Salisbury, North Carolina, told the court that he fired the shots from an AR-15 rifle previous year after reading what were later proven to be "fake news" reports online that Comet Ping Pong pizzeria had housed a child sex ring with alleged ties to 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

When he's sentenced in June, he'll likely received 18 to 25 months on the federal charge and 18 months to five years on the local charge. Prosecutors agreed to drop a District charge of possessing a firearm while committing a crime of violence, which carried a 15-year maximum penalty. Welch gave himself up to police after he did not find any evidence that the online theories were true.

Welch traveled to the restaurant that December day to further investigate the rumors he had read about online. The 28-year-old claimed to be investigating a weird conspiracy theory - that the restaurant was the epicentre of a sex-abuse ring led by former US President Bill Clinton and his wife, Hillary.

He fired his AR-15 multiple times, causing damage to the restaurant, and pointed his gun at an employee.

The defendant was motivated, at least in part, by unfounded rumors concerning a child sex-trafficking ring that was being perpetrated by high-profile individuals at Comet. Before he arrived, he texted a friend that he was "Raiding a pedo ring, possibly sacraficing [sic] the lives of a few for the lives of many", according to the criminal complaint.

U.S. District Court Judge Ketanji B. Jackson told Welch that with a felony conviction, he would no longer be allowed to own a firearm.

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