• Trial begins for accused American Front hate group leader after plea deal rejected


    OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. - The trial is underway for the alleged ringleader of an Osceola County white supremacist group after he rejected a last-minute deal by prosecutors.
    Prosecutors said Marcus Faella, the alleged leader of the American Front hate group, used his rural property to prepare for a race war.
    Investigators believe Faella ran the paramilitary operation on his rural property and began plotting attacks in downtown Orlando.
    The plea deal involved Faella pleading guilty to being principal to possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, a crime with a maximum penalty of 15 years behind bars, but he turned it down.
    "You're charged with conspiracy to shoot at or into a building," said Judge Jon Morgan, as he informed Faella that if convicted on all charges, he faces up to 50 years in prison.
    Faella's attorney, Ronald Ecker, said his client doesn’t believe he committed the crimes he's accused of and doesn't think the case against him is very strong. Ecker also pointed out Faella is not a convicted felon.
    Faella is accused of training other members of American Front, including Christopher Brooks, who is now in state prison for being a felon in possession of a firearm.
    Charges against many of the other original suspects have been dropped.
    Immediately after Faella rejected the plea deal, jury selection began.

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