White supremacist pleads not guilty

Published 8:36am Wednesday, May 9, 2012

AUSTIN — A white supremacist from Austin accused of amassing several weapons and hundreds of rounds of ammunition as part of a plan to attack the government and minorities pleaded not guilty in U.S. District Court last month and has a trial scheduled for July 16.

Samuel James Johnson, 31, pleaded not guilty to five felony charges for an armed career criminal in possession of firearms and ammunition on April 26.

Johnson allegedly also tried to recruit others to his cause and actively scouted for a training compound in Illinois and Minnesota, according to a federal affidavit unsealed last month. Johnson is still in jail.

The indictments said Johnson has prior convictions for armed crimes and is not allowed to have weapons, but from late 2010 through late last year he was found with five weapons — including a semi-automatic assault rifle — and more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition.

According to the affidavit, Johnson was a former member and Minnesota leader of the National Socialist Movement, a white nationalist group and had gone on to form his own group, called the Aryan Liberation Movement.

With the new group, Johnson planned to “recruit and train other white supremacist sympathizers toward a final goal of committing acts of violence against the United States government and minority individuals,” the affidavit said.

Johnson was convicted of numerous felonies in Mower County in November 2007, including simple robbery, second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon, two felony drug charges for controlled substance, third- and fifth-degree drug sale and possession of machine guns and short-barreled shotguns.

Johnson conducted several rallies in Austin in 2009 that prompted protest from several dozen people who also threw tomatoes in response.