Indicted QAnon believer pleads not guilty in soldier assault case

A Waukesha County QAnon believer indicted this week by a federal grand jury of assaulting and attempting to assault uniformed soldiers last month in Pewaukee pleaded not guilty before a federal judge Friday afternoon.

Ian Olson, 31, of Nashotah, appeared by video before Federal Magistrate Judge Stephen Dries for an arraignment and plea hearing in the case. His attorney Thomas Simon entered a not guilty plea on Olson’s behalf. He was indicted on two counts relating to allegedly shooting paintballs at soldiers outside an army facility on March 15.

Olson remains in custody pending trial in the federal case after federal prosecutors argued last month Olson poses a serious risk to the safety of the community. Olson allegedly said he would cause a "mass casualty" event if released from jail.

The married father of two was arrested after he was tackled by uniformed Army reservists standing in a parking lot of the US Army Reserve Center, 619 W. Wisconsin, in Pewaukee.

According to a criminal complaint filed in Milwaukee federal court, Olson got out of his vehicle – which is spray-painted with QAnon slogans – and shouted "This is for America" while carrying what appeared to be a rifle. It was an orange AR-15-style paintball gun. Olson allegedly shot two or three paintballs at the soldiers, who were about 15 yards away.

After the gun jammed, Olson said to the soldiers, "You’re lucky it jammed," and was then tackled by one of the reservists, who is a Waukesha County sheriff's deputy. He was held until the Village of Pewaukee Police Department arrived.

Inside Olson’s car, police found a gas mask, throwing knives, police scanner, two-way radios, taser, and ballistic military-style vest plates. Police also found a three-page, hand-written "manifesto," according to court filings -- with a number of comments referencing "Q" and "my plan."

QAnon is a convoluted, pro-Trump conspiracy theory centering on the baseless belief that former President Trump is waging a secret war against the so-called "deep state," and a child sex trafficking ring run by cannibals and satanic pedophiles.

A federal grand jury returned an indictment on April 13. Count one charges Olson knowingly assaulted and battered, and attempted to assault and battery, a United States serviceman on account of their military service and status as a serviceman. Count two charges Olson forcibly assaulted, impeded, intimidated and interfered with a member of the uniformed services while in performance of official duties.

Federal filings say Olson was in D.C. in early March and that on March 3, Olson approached a National Guardsman saying he was "maybe going to do something crazy stupid tomorrow," asking the soldiers to not shoot him. Some QAnon supporters believed the former president would be inaugurated in Washington on March 4.  A number of QAnon supporters have been arrested in connection to the pro-Trump insurrection at the US Capitol on January 6, including a man from northwestern Wisconsin.

Court filings unsealed last month showed federal terrorism investigators are combing through Olson’s digital trail, seeking to understand Olson’s prior whereabouts, intent and who he may have associated or traveled with, looking for any possible "coconspirators."

During Friday’s hearing, Assistant US Attorney Ben Proctor said the government is seeking two days for trial; a date has not yet been set.

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