White Supremacist Pleads Not Guilty to Arson

Brian James Moudry was arrested on charges of trying to burn an African-American family out of their home

A self-proclaimed white supremacist from Joliet pleaded not guilty Thursday in federal court to charges he allegedly set fire to an African-American neighbor's house back in 2007. 

Brian James Moudry, 35, responded to the judge's questions but didn't say much in court.

Moudry was arrested Wednesday on charges of trying to burn the family out of their home the morning on June 17 because of their race. The family with eight children lived down the street from Moudry in the 300 block of South Reed Street.

An indictment alleges Moudry set the fire to “injure, intimidate, and interfere with" the family because they were renting the home. The eight kids and an adult were home at the time of the blaze, according to the indictment, but no one was injured and the family moved after the fire.

Moudry was charged with one count each of arson, using fire to interfere with housing rights on the basis of race, and using fire to commit another felony in a three-count indictment that was returned by a federal grand jury last week and unsealed after his arrest.

Moudry is being represented by an African American attorney, MiAngel Cody.

“The federal government takes very seriously its responsibilities to protect members of all racial and ethnic groups from intimidation and violence," said outgoing U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald in a statement. 

The arson charge carries a mandatory minimum of 5 years and a maximum of 20 years in prison. The other charges each carry mandatory 10-year terms and a maximum fine of $250,000. 

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