Man’s Belief in ‘Sortition’ Led to Suicide Plot


An upstate New York man has been arrested after allegedly plotting to blow himself up on the National Mall on Election Day next month. US Attorney Geoffrey Berman calls it “a twisted plan to draw attention to his political ideology,” per CBS New York. Paul Rosenfeld of Tappan reportedly supports “sortition,” the random selection of legislators from a pool as practiced in ancient Greece. FBI agents pulled over the 56-year-old on Tuesday after he allegedly disclosed the plan in texts and letters sent to a reporter in Pennsylvania, reports NBC News. Court documents say Rosenfeld admitted to building a bomb in his basement with explosive black powder ordered over the Internet.

He built it in a manner meant to ensure his death, authorities say. “Had he been successful, Rosenfeld’s alleged plot could have claimed the lives of innocent bystanders and caused untold destruction,” FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William Sweeney says in a statement. A bomb discovered at Rosenfeld’s home contained eight pounds of black powder but weighed 200 pounds, mostly due to components used to transport it, authorities add. Rosenfeld is also alleged to have made and tested other bombs “for practice,” reports ABC News. Charged Wednesday with unlawful manufacture of a destruction device and interstate transportation and receipt of an explosive, he faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted on both counts.

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