Jeff Amy of the Associated Press is reporting Graeme Phillip Harris has pleaded guilty to hanging a noose on a campus statue of James Meredith, the first black student at Ole Miss. Amy writes:
Harris, who is white, pleaded guilty Thursday to a misdemeanor charge of threatening force to intimidate African-American students and employees at the university. Prosecutors agreed to drop a stiffer felony charge in exchange for the plea arising from the incident last year.
The 20-year-old Harris faces up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $100,000. U.S. District Judge Michael Mills said sentencing will be within 60 to 90 days, and he allowed Harris to remain free on a $10,000 bond.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Bob Norman told Mills that Harris, who had a history of using racist language and saying African Americans were inferior to whites, proposed the plan to two fellow freshmen while at the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity house on the night of Feb 15, 2014.
That led to the plan to hang the noose and a former Georgia state flag that features the Confederate battle flag on the statue of Meredith, in a jab at Ole Miss’ thorny racial history.
Harris and two others was identified from a videotape shot by an Ole Miss student. Harris and the other students have withdrawn. Harris has returned home and is enrolling in school in Georgia, which suggests that he has a deal in place and will not serve jail time.
Felicia Adams, the United States Attorney for Northern Mississippi, who is African-American, handled the case. Harris won’t be prosecuted for the second charge in his March indictment — conspiracy to violate civil rights — a felony which could carry up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
Read more at ABC News.