'Pizzagate' gunman pleads guilty, faces up to 7 years in prison

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WASHINGTON ― A conspiracy-driven man who fired his assault rifle inside a D.C. pizza restaurant pled guilty on Friday to federal and local charges.

Edgar Maddison Welch, 28 of Salisbury, N.C., surrenders to police Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016, in Washington.

The sentencing guidelines are 18 to 24 months for interstate transportation and 18 to 60 months for the assault charge.

Edgar Welch, 28, reportedly entered the local Comet Ping Pong on December 4, 2016, wielding his rifle and threatening the restaurant's employees and customers.

Welch remains jailed, and he faces up to a seven-year prison term when sentenced later this year. Welch was originally charged with possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime of violence, but it was dropped as part of his plea agreement.

It was just a few days earlier, on December 1, that Welch had learned of the conspiracy theory that had come to be known as "Pizzagate", which involved the unfounded rumors of pedophilia supposedly perpetrated by Hillary and Bill Clinton, as well as others in the Democratic Party.

Welch opened fire in the now infamous Comet Ping Pong pizza restaurant with an AR-15 rifle in December 2016, when he arrived to investigate the weird allegations, though no one was injured.

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.

During his drive to the pizzeria, Welch recorded video of himself saying he might not return home as a result of the violent confrontation he planned to engage in, court documents said.

Before leaving, prosecutors said, he sent this text to a friend: "Raiding a pedo ring, possible sacrificing the lives of a few for the lives of many".

US District Court Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson has scheduled Welch's sentencing for June 22.

He continued: "Staning up against a corrupt system that kidnaps, tortures and rapes babies and children in our own backyard". He will remain detained until then.

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