WASHINGTON (WUSA9) - A North Carolina man who fired an assault rifle multiple times inside a D.C. pizza restaurant while investigating the internet conspiracy theory known as “Pizzagate” will face federal charges.
Edgar Maddison Welch of Salisbury, North Carolina, appeared briefly in Superior Court in the District of Columbia on Tuesday.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Sonali Patel told a judge that prosecutors are dismissing the local charges because they have obtained a federal arrest warrant. Welch appeared before a U.S. District judge later Tuesday to be arraigned on charges related to transporting a firearm with intent to commit a felony.
Welch did not get to enter his plea in Federal Court. His hearing has been postponed to 9:30 a.m. Friday. Meanwhile, WUSA9 learned more of the evidence against Welch. Prosecutors looked into text messages found on the cell phone Welch left in his car December 4th, which is the day police said Welch went into Comet Ping Pong armed and in search of a non-existent child sex ring.
In court documents, investigators found the word “Pizzagate” in Welch’s web searches and text messages. On December 2nd, court documents indicate Welch asked a friend to meet with him and whether he had any “Army buddies.” When the friend responded, “It depended on the cause,” Welch replied, “Raiding a pedo ring, possibly sacrificing [sic] lives of a few for the lives of many.”
On the day of the incident, investigators said Welch recorded a video of himself telling his family he loved them and that if he didn’t see them again to “don’t ever forget it.”
Welch refused to completely dismiss Pizzagate to the New York Times.
“He’s not the monster he’s portrayed to be,” his mother said to The Washington Post.
Terri and Harry Welch also gave our media partner a statement saying they have a no-kill dog rescue, they have fostered children, and that Edgar, who goes by his middle name Maddison, is from a “family of rescuers.”
Welch’s parents did not attend the federal hearing where a different, more cleaned-up Welch appeared in court. He sported a haircut and what appeared to be a mustache instead of a beard.
The 9:30 a.m. Friday court appearance will be both a preliminary and detention hearing.
Welch now faces up to 10 years in prison and possible fines.