- The Washington Times - Monday, April 13, 2009

JACKSON, TENN. (AP) - Two suspected white supremacists charged with plotting to kill President Barack Obama when he was a candidate and dozens of other black people are seeking to have a judge throw out the prosecution’s evidence against them.

In a federal court petition filed over the weekend, Daniel Cowart, 20, contends he was arrested without sufficient cause and his residence was illegally searched.

Cowart of Bells, Tenn., and Paul Schlesselman, 18, of Helena-West Helena, Ark., have been jailed since late October on firearms and conspiracy charges.

Schlesselman filed a similar petition in February challenging his arrest.

A hearing for both men is scheduled for Thursday.

Authorities describe Cowart and Schlesselman as white supremacist skinheads who met over the Internet and concocted a plan for a robbery and killing spree that would culminate with an attack on Obama, then the Democratic candidate for president.

Cowart and Schlesselman were arrested at the home of Cowart’s grandparents in northwest Tennessee. The arrests followed an informant’s tip to authorities that the two were planning a robbery.

In his petition, Cowart contends that tip was insufficient to warrant his arrest. Cowart, who was living with his grandparents, also argues that sheriff’s deputies frightened his grandfather into permitting a search of his residence.

The grandfather “believed that he had no choice but to invite the officers inside,” the petition says.

Both Cowart and Schlesselman argue that they were arrested based on flimsy evidence from an unreliable informant.

Prosecutors argue, however, that the two were armed and dangerous and sheriff’s deputies had no choice but to take them into custody as quickly as possible. After questioning the men, local authorities called in federal investigators.

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