misch man

Max Misch faces a new charge after Bennington Police responded to a domestic disturbance call to his residence.

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BENNINGTON — Avowed white nationalist Max Misch is due back in court after an arrest Friday by Bennington Police for alleged aggravated domestic assault.

Chief Paul Doucette said in a statement that Misch, 38, who is facing firearms-related charges and several allegations of violating his conditions of release on those charges, now is alleged to have choked a woman on Christmas Eve last year.

Police were called to Misch’s home on Gage Street on Friday. Misch had called police to have a woman “removed due to a dispute,” according to the statement.

Police said that “during the interview process the female in this case advised that she had been choked by Misch on December 24, 2020,” but that she “did not report the December incident to the Bennington Police Department prior to July 2, 2021.”

Misch was arrested and is expected to face charges of aggravated domestic assault at Bennington Superior Court Criminal Division on Tuesday; the investigating officer is Cpl. David Faden.

He was later released on conditions, including that he not have any contact with the woman.

Alleged violations

In late May, Misch denied allegations he violated a court order barring him from contacting his ex-wife, a witness in his unresolved firearms case. He was arrested in early 2019 and charged with two counts of illegally possessing two large-capacity rifle magazines in violation of Vermont gun control statutes that took effect in 2018.

Misch pleaded not guilty in May to a new charge of violating his conditions of release.

Authorities at that time accused Misch of confronting his ex-wife, Lisa Shapiro, when they encountered each other at Walmart in Bennington. Police said Misch’s actions violated court-ordered conditions of release on his firearms charges.

The firearms charges were brought by the state Attorney General’s Office in February 2019, after Shapiro reportedly spoke to police about Misch’s white supremacist views and his efforts to obtain firearms, magazines and ammunition.

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FIREARMS CHARGES

Misch, a self-described white nationalist and Iraq War veteran, previously acknowledged trolling former state Rep. Kiah Morris, who is African American, online and during public events.

Morris, who left her seat amid a campaign for re-election to the Vermont House in 2018, has since moved with her family from Bennington to the Burlington area.

She had filed multiple complaints of racially motivated harassment during that period, but authorities on the local and state level said the incidents did not rise to the level of criminal action because of constitutional protections regarding freedom of speech.

However, after a Vermont State Police investigation into Misch’s alleged purchase of 30-round rifle magazines in New Hampshire, resulting in a violation of Vermont law, he was arrested and faces up to a year in prison and a $500 fine on each charge.

On those charges, Misch has challenged the statute’s constitutionality in Vermont Supreme Court, but the court ruled that the ban is a reasonable regulation of a person’s right to bear arms for self-defense.

Other cases

Besides his firearms magazine case, Misch has four other criminal cases. The Attorney General’s Office is handling two of them, pertaining to charges of violating conditions of release.

The Bennington State’s Attorney’s Office is prosecuting the other two: a charge of disorderly conduct during the painting of Bennington’s Black Lives Matter mural in August, as well as another disorderly conduct allegation, stemming from a fight with a Black man in September.

The latter charge, which has been enhanced as a hate crime, carries the most serious potential jail time Misch is facing — two years. The rest are punishable by up to a year in jail.

During previous hearings, Misch’s attorney and prosecutors have talked about the possibility of resolving his cases through plea agreements.

Jim Therrien writes for Vermont News and Media, including the Bennington Banner, Manchester Journal and Brattleboro Reformer. Email jtherrien@benningtonbanner.com.

Reporter/editor

Jim Therrien reports for the three Vermont News and Media newspapers in Southern Vermont. He previously worked as a reporter and editor at the Berkshire Eagle, the Bennington Banner, the Springfield Republican, and the former North Adams Transcript.


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