BILLINGS - A man authorities accused of leading a group planning to assassinate Flathead County officials has agreed to plead guilty this week to federal firearms charges, court documents show.
David Burgert is expected to plead to possessing a machine gun and being a felon in possession of a firearm, under terms of a plea agreement he struck with prosecutors this month. A hearing is scheduled Friday in U.S. District Court in Missoula.
Each count has a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release, according to court documents.
While local authorities in Flathead County said Burgert was a key figure in the alleged assassination plot by a group called "Project 7," the federal indictment against him made no mention of those allegations.
One of the terms of the plea agreement, however, is Burgert's full cooperation with authorities and possible testimony "at any proceedings deemed appropriate by the United State's attorneyís office," court documents show. Prosecutors would push for a reduced sentence if Burgert's help provided "substantial assistance in the prosecution of other individuals," according to a copy of the plea agreement.
Burgert wouldn't be prosecuted if he revealed any incriminating evidence against himself, court records show.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Kris McLean declined to discuss the plea agreement on Wednesday. He also declined to say whether any investigation was under way into the alleged assassination plot, or whether any additional arrests were expected. Burgert's attorney was not available for comment Wednesday morning.
In February 2002, Flathead County Sheriff Jim Dupont said investigators uncovered a plot by a small group planning to kill judges, prosecutors and law enforcement officers and amassing an arsenal of weapons. The group's name derived from the numbers on Flathead County license plates, which begin with a 7.