The armed North Carolina man who drove from his home to a Washington, D.C., pizza parlor to investigate the Internet conspiracy theory Pizzagate will likely plead guilty to a host of state and federal charges, prosecutors say.
Edgar Maddison Welch, lawyers for both sides say, has accepted a deal “in principle” that would help both sides avoid what would, no doubt, be a high-profile trial.
Inspired by “Pizzagate,” which claims that Hillary Clinton, Jon Podesta and a host of Democratic bigwigs are connected to a child sex-trafficking ring run out of a DC-area pizzeria called Comet Ping-Pong, Welch grabbed his AR-15 and .38 revolver and drove several hundred miles to restaurant to “investigate.”
Once there, he “searched for evidence of hidden rooms or tunnels, or child sex-trafficking of any kind,” according to court documents. But he came away disappointed and regretful after he found no proof of a global conspiracy— just empty rooms and delicious, handcrafted pizza.
He then fired off his AR-15 inside the restaurant.
The attorneys weren’t forthcoming as to what Welch’s plea deal entailed. But he initially pleaded “not guilty” to federal charges of transporting a firearm across state lines, and charges of “assault with a dangerous weapon and possession of a firearm during a commission of violence,” according to prosecutors.
Welch will appear at a hearing on March 24.
After Welch’s arrest, interest in the Internet-fueled Pizzagate theory has waned somewhat, although at least one Florida newscaster and one NBA player, Cleveland Cavaliers’s Andrew Bogut, are still “just asking questions.” There’s also a march planned for March 25, the day after Welch’s sentencing, that will end with a small rally outside Comet Ping-Pong.
So far, though, the Internet is silent on whether the plea deal is meant to protect any individuals involved in any possible child sex-trafficking ring by keeping important evidence out of view of the public. It’s probably only a matter of time, however.