-- Edgar Madison Welch, who fired a gun inside a Washington, D.C., pizza restaurant in December while investigating a conspiracy theory, pleaded guilty this morning to two charges, including interstate transport of a firearm and assault with a dangerous weapon.
Welch, 28, was arrested for firing an AR-15 inside Comet Ping Pong, a pizza restaurant in northwest D.C. The incident was sparked by a false story that implicated the pizza joint in a child sex-trafficking operation connected to Hillary Clinton. The conspiracy was not grounded in any truth, but did have real consequences.
During today's hearing, Welch admitted that he had driven from North Carolina to D.C. with a firearm and ammunition, entered Comet Ping Pong, fired one shot and pointed it at least one person.
Both the federal and D.C. charge have 10-year maximum prison sentences. The sentences can be concurrent or consecutive.
Welch was originally indicted on a possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime of violence charge, but that was dropped in his plea agreement. That charge held a mandatory minimum of five years in prison.
He also agreed to pay restitution of $5,744.33. That was based on a restitution request from the owner of the restaurant for damages, which included damage to a ping pong table, according to the government attorney. His defense attorney pointed out that the exact number was based on the insurance estimate and out-of-pocket expenses.
The court was satisfied that Welch was competent to face charges and that there were adequate facts to support the charges, so his plea was entered.
Welch's sentencing hearing is scheduled for June 22; he will remain detained until the hearing.