SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah militia leader accused in a bomb plot on a federal building has been ordered to remain in jail pending trial.
William Keebler was ordered detained on Thursday after U.S. Magistrate Judge Dustin Pead declared Keebler possesses “serious risk” to the public. The judge cited FBI testimony that claimed Keebler had conducted reconnaissance on a mosque and other federal buildings in the Salt Lake City area, before settling on a Bureau of Land Management building on the Utah-Arizona border.
“The court is not prepared to adopt a ‘wait-and-see’ on Mr. Keebler,” Pead said.
Keebler, the leader of the Patriot’s Defense Force, was arrested after an inert device was detonated. FBI testimony at his detention hearing revealed that undercover agents infiltrated the militia and manufactured a device for him. Agents claim it was at Keebler’s request, but supporters have accused the FBI of entrapment.
Outside court, two of Keebler’s supporters insisted federal agents put him up to it.
“The only thing he did was push a button, and that remains to be seen,”said Lor Potts, who works with a group called We the People. “[The undercover agents] came up with the idea, they built them, they detonated, or they, you know, test detonated, and they put them at the building and set them and then said, ‘Here, here’s the trigger.’ Until that time, anything he said was a 1984 thought crime, they are the ones who took and ran with everything.”
She also noted that Keebler surrendered peacefully.
“He is not a violent man,” she said.