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Men sentenced to 5 years each in Ga. militia plot

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GAINESVILLE, Ga. -

Two of the so-called "Geriatric Jihadists" received the maximum sentence for their role in plotting to blow up buildings and kill federal workers in downtown Atlanta.

Fred Thomas and Dan Roberts say they were only talking trash when a government informant secretly recorded their plans.

The two military veterans, one 73, the other 68 admitted in a plea bargain to buying explosives and a silencer from someone who turned out to be a federal agent.

Their stunning arrest made national headlines -- a frightening case of homegrown terrorism based largely on months of audio recordings made by Joe Sims, a confidential informant who was also part of the Georgia Militia.

Despite those secret recordings, Roberts and Thomas say they only wanted the C-4 and the silencer to protect Georgians in case our society collapsed or federal troops invaded. But U.S. District Judge Richard Story disagreed, saying it's one thing to talk about blowing up federal buildings,  it's quite another to go out and buy a bomb.

In his sentencing on Wednesday, Story agreed with the government's position and gave the men the maximum punishment for the crime they admitted --five years.

The two men's families and attorneys put much of the blame on Sims -- an accused child molester who is still awaiting trial in South Carolina. He says he is not guilty. He never testified in this case.

"He was the one stirring the pot. Now I'm not saying but for Joe Sims none of this would have happened, but he was an important ingredient," said defense attorney Michael Trost.

Sims could still testify against the two remaining defendants. Sammy Crump and Ray Adams are scheduled to go to trial within the next six months.

They're accused of plotting to spread the deadly toxin ricin along major interstates in metro Atlanta.

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