BENNINGTON — Self-proclaimed white nationalist and Iraqi war veteran Max Misch pleaded guilty Monday to a single felony aggravated domestic assault charge and a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct as a hate crime as part of a plea arrangement with prosecutors that dismissed several other pending charges — including a second hate crime, obstruction of justice, a separate domestic assault, and two other disorderly conduct charges dating back to 2020.
Judge John Valente, filling in for Judge Cortland Corsones, who has overseen the case since 2020, accepted the plea deal and sentenced Misch to one to three years, all suspended, plus two years of probation on the aggravated assault charge. He then sentenced Misch to 90 to 180 days, also suspended, plus two years of probation on the disorderly conduct as a hate crime charge. Both sentences will run concurrently.
Misch will be under strict probation conditions for two years, including electronic monitoring, screenings for treatment for mental health and violence, no contact with the victim, no firearms, a curfew, and restitution to the victim if warranted. He can also no longer own or possess firearms as a convicted felon.
Wearing a short-sleeve shirt and jeans, Misch sat alone at the defense table as Valente went over in fine detail the parameters of the plea deal. At one point, Misch, seeming to squirm in his seat following the hate crime charge’s factual basis presented by prosecutor Alexander Burke, rejected the statement that he used the “N” word during the confrontation with two high school kids.
“I don’t agree with that,” Misch said. “They started the incident.”
Valente then asked Misch whether he used the terms “white Power” or the “N” word when things escalated with the teens.
“I used the words ‘white power,’ but I never said the word, ‘ni***r,’” Misch said out loud.
Valente then asked, “But you did use the other term, ‘white power?’ You agree with those facts?”
After consulting with both prosecutor Burke and defense attorney Frederick Bragdon, both appearing via video — Misch sat alone — Valente said, “That’s good enough for the court.”
The aggravated assault charge stemmed from a Christmas Eve of 2020 incident in his residence when he broke the arm of his girlfriend in an altercation. The hate crime charge dates back to July of 2021, when Misch had an altercation on a Bennington street with two minority youths that escalated into maliciously motivated conduct based on race. He faced a 15-year maximum sentence if convicted of the felony aggravated assault, and a two-year maximum on the hate crime, if convicted.
Misch, 39, has several other cases still making their way through the judicial system, including four separate violations related to his long-standing gun case. A defense motion to dismiss the still outstanding misdemeanor charges — possession a large capacity ammunition feeding device — is currently being reviewed by Corsones, with a decision pending. The motion, the second attempt to dismiss the charge, is based solely on a recent United States Supreme Court precedent ruling on an overturned New York State law concerning the second amendment. That case and the violations associated with it are being handled by the Vermont Attorney General’s office.
When asked for a statement before he was sentenced, Misch said, “I think this is a fair sentence.”
He then thanked the judge and walked out to collect his parole paperwork.