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Michigan man found guilty of defacing synagogue with swastika, graffiti

CBS News Detroit Digital Brief for Jan. 25, 2024
CBS News Detroit Digital Brief for Jan. 25, 2024 03:54

A federal jury has convicted a man on two counts for with defacing one of Michigan's oldest synagogues with a swastika and other graffiti in 2019, prosecutors said Thursday.

Nathan Weeden, 23, of Houghton was found guilty of conspiring against rights and damaging religious property, prosecutors said.

Swastikas and symbols associated with The Base, a white supremacist group, were sprayed on the outside of Temple Jacob in Hancock in the Upper Peninsula, prosecutors said. Weeden and co-conspirators dubbed their plan "Operation Kristallnacht," which means "Night of Broken Glass" and refers to Nov. 9-10, 1938, when Nazis killed Jews and burned their homes, synagogues, schools and places of business.

"This defendant shamelessly desecrated Temple Jacob when he emblazoned swastikas — a symbol of extermination — on their Temple walls," Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the U.S. Justice Department's Civil Rights Division said in a news release. "Such conduct is unacceptable and criminal under any circumstances but doing so in furtherance of a self-described 'Operation Kristallnacht' conspiracy is beyond disgraceful."

A message seeking comment was left with Weeden's attorney.

Two co-conspirators of Weeden were previously convicted in the case.

The construction of Temple Jacob was completed in 1912.

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