ATLANTA (AP) — The 73-year-old Georgia man accused of masterminding a plot to buy explosives and weapons to target government officials asked a judge to release him on bond because he said federal charges accusing him of being a domestic terrorist are "overblown."The appeal filed Tuesday highlighted Frederick Thomas' long service in the U.S. Navy and his history of heart problems and lung disease. Defense attorney Jeff Ertel said his client can't even lift his arms above his head, let alone raise a rifle to his shoulder."What is driving his case is the allegations that Mr. Thomas is a 'domestic terrorist' (an) allegation that is overblown and inaccurate but has led to a media 'firestorm' that has prejudiced" Thomas' attempt to receive a fair trial, the filing said.It added: "Mr. Thomas has never harmed anyone in his seventy three years of existence."Thomas and three other men were denied bond last month in a 28-page order by U.S. Magistrate Susan Cole. She said that despite their age, the four could still carry out attacks by pulling a trigger or detonating an explosive with a cellphone, and that there were no conditions of release to ensure they wouldn't commit any violence.The four men were arrested in early November after at least seven months of surveillance by an informant who infiltrated their meetings at a Waffle House restaurant and other places. Thomas and Dan Roberts, 67, are charged with conspiring to obtain an explosive and possessing an unregistered silencer. Ray Adams, 55, and Samuel Crump, 68, are charged with conspiring and attempting to make ricin.Thomas, described as the plot's leader, allegedly talked of targeting U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and former U.S. Rep. Cynthia McKinney. Authorities also said he stockpiled a small arsenal of weapons at his home in the Georgia mountains and scouted two federal buildings in Atlanta for possible attacks."We'd have to blow the whole building like Timothy McVeigh," he said in a recording, referring to the man executed for the Oklahoma City bombing that killed 168 people in 1995.Attorneys for the four men, who pleaded not guilty, said they were never going to follow through on the boastful chatter, and that they were prodded by a government informant with a shady past. And Ertel said in this week's filing that his client was a "true patriot" who honorably served and defended his country."Once the court looks past the label 'domestic terrorist' and gets to the meat of the case, it is clear Mr. Thomas is not a danger to the community," the filing said.___Follow Bluestein at http://www.twitter.com/bluestein



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