SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- A U.S. Navy sailor previously assigned to the San Diego-based USS Lake Erie was sentenced to nearly two years of confinement after pleading guilty to promoting “supremacist” ideals and firearm-related charges.
According to information released by Navy officials, Petty Officer 3rd Class James Charles Hart was given a 23-month term during a general court-martial hearing on Thursday.
As part of the sentence, Hart’s rank was reduced to E-1 and he received a dishonorable discharge.
Navy officials said NCIS and members of the San Diego FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force began investigating Hart in January after he “posted to social media advocating for acts of violence against military members and law enforcement. The investigation determined Hart used social media to express his support for the siege at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, and advocate for violence against Navy personnel and assets.”
Investigators searched Hart’s barracks room and found “a loaded handgun, ammunition, and multiple stolen gas masks. A review of his phone resulted in the discovery of evidence that Hart illegally sold a firearm.”
Navy officials said Hart pleaded guilty to:
- violating a lawful order by advocating supremacist and extreme doctrine
- illegally possessing a firearm and ammunition on base
- illegally dealing in firearms
NCIS Southwest Special Agent in Charge Joshua Flowers said, “Petty Officer Hart betrayed his oath to the Navy and deserves to be held fully accountable for his hateful and criminal actions. NCIS is dedicated to protecting Navy and Marine readiness from being degraded by criminal activity. This conviction should serve as a warning that NCIS, the FBI, and our partners will fully investigate any and all criminal threats advocating violence against the Department of the Navy.”