CHATTANOOGA, TENN. - A Chattanooga man convicted of plotting a terror attack in New York has been sentenced to nearly 20 years in prison Wednesday evening.
United States District Judge Curtis L. Collier ordered Robert Doggart to serve a maximum sentence of 235 months, or 19 years and seven months in prison.
Doggart, a former 2014 congressional candidate and Tennessee Valley Authority engineer, was convicted of plotting an attack on a Muslim mosque in Islamberg, NY in February after an eight-day trial. Doggart believed Islamberg was a training ground for terrorists and wanted to see if its members were gong to attack New York City or poison the Delaware River.
Doggart's family members and Islamberg community members filled nearly every seat in the courtroom where Doggart learned his fate.
Tahirah Amatul-Wadud, an Islamberg attorney, said the ruling comes at a bittersweet time in America.
"As the judge said this was a crime not just against the community of Islamberg, but it was a crime by Robert Doggart against the United States of America," said Amatul-Wadud. "People who believe that they're above the law nothing you do or say will humble them and that's what we've seen this afternoon."
Many of Doggart's family members left the courthouse in tears, and did not want to talk about the ruling.
"Sorry we don't have any comments. Thank you," said Doggart's sister.
Doggart was arrested on April 10, 2015.
In February, jurors found Doggart guilty on all counts, including solicitation to commit a civil rights violation and solicitation to commit arson of a building. Judge Collier later dismissed two counts of making threats in interstate commerce, because there wasn't enough evidence.
During the sentencing hearing, Doggart apologized to the Islamberg community, saying he was trying to draw attention to possible dangers to New York.
But Amatul-Wadud did not believe the apology was sincere.
"If someone had the audacity to do what he planned then with that comes a sense of entitlement that he had every right to do what he did and that's what his apology sounded like. It sounded flat and fell on its face."
Judge Collier considered Doggart's work history, clean record, along with his mental and physical health conditions. Collier acknowledged Doggart has a heart condition and suffers from a lifelong Narcissistic personality disorder, but said it doesn't justify his plans to attack. Collier explained the court believed Doggart was fully competent, and that his disorder did not significantly reduce hid mindset.
Collier also said the court believed there was a significant risk to society regarding Doggart's plans.
Amatul-Wadud said the judge's ruling comes at a bittersweet time in America, but she and many others hopes the ruling serves as a reminder to everyone across the nation.
"This punishment given out today is a warning for those who think the way this man thinks people and is a reassurance for people to practice their faith and want to do so and safety and security allotted by the laws of this land."
One of Doggart's attorney's said they do plan to appeal the judge's ruling.