Cody Richard Griggers, 28, of Montrose, Ga., Pleaded guilty Monday to illegal possession of an unregistered firearm, the Justice Department said this week.
A Griggers lawyer told CNN his client felt remorse after failing to properly register his guns, but criticized the government for including information in court documents suggesting his client was a white supremacist.
“These inflammatory allegations are just that – allegations,” said attorney Keith Fitzgerald, noting that many allegations in court records are unrelated to the criminal charge against his client. Additionally, Fitzgerald said his client denies any allegations of racism.
“He is neither a fanatic nor a racist,” Fitzgerald said.
In an affidavit supporting the government’s criminal complaint against Griggers – a former deputy in the Wilkinson County Sheriff’s Department – an FBI agent pointed to a series of messages allegedly written by Griggers that portrayed hatred towards African Americans and the community LGBT, while speaking positively about the Nazi Holocaust.
According to court records, Griggers appeared on federal officials’ radar after agents seized the phone of a man under investigation in San Diego. The FBI alleged that Griggers, the San Diego suspect and other unidentified individuals were part of a self-proclaimed “Shadow Moses” group text.
In group texts, Griggers expressed anti-government views and hatred towards minorities and discussed the manufacture of gun suppressors and automatic weapons, according to the affidavit.
According to the FBI, in August 2019, the former deputy sheriff sent a text describing the use of excessive force against a person of color suspected of stealing a gun accessory from a gun store in local light, indicating: of a [n-word] Saturday.”
“The sheriff’s department said it looks [sic] as if he had fallen, ”Griggers added, according to the FBI, and said the beatings were“ a stress reliever ”.
The Wilkinson County Sheriff’s Department did not respond to CNN’s request for comment on the alleged incident involving the assault of a suspect.
“That never happened,” Chatman told the Macon Telegraph, adding, “We don’t even have a gun store here.”
According to the federal criminal complaint, Griggers also discussed his intention to charge black people with crimes in order to prevent them from voting.
“This is a sign of beautiful things to come,” Griggers sent the group members, according to the FBI, and wrote, “I will also charge them with all the crimes I can to take away the ability to vote. “
The FBI has provided no evidence that Griggers ever did this.
Despite his alleged racist rhetoric, Griggers has not been charged with any civil rights violations. Instead, federal prosecutors charged him with illegal possession of an unregistered short-barreled firearm seized in a court-authorized search of his residence in November 2020, court records show.
CNN has asked the Justice Department for comment on whether additional civil rights charges are pending.
Griggers remains in custody pending sentencing, which is slated for July 6. He faces a maximum of 10 years in prison and three years of supervised release, as well as a maximum fine of $ 250,000.