Suspect charged in alleged arson at Bernie Sanders’ Vermont office pleads not guilty

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The man charged in connection with an alleged arson at Sen. Bernie Sanders’ office in Vermont pleaded not guilty on Tuesday, court records show.

Shant Soghomonian, 35, was charged earlier this month with using fire to damage the building in Burlington.

During his arraignment on Tuesday, Judge Kevin J. Doyle ordered pretrial motions on both sides to be filed by July 22, according to court records. Last week, the judge had ordered Soghomonian to be detained pending further proceedings.

CNN has reached out to Soghomonian’s public defender for comment.

Soghomonian allegedly entered the building on April 5 and went to the third floor, where the independent senator’s offices are located, according to court records cited by the Justice Department.

“Soghomonian was recorded on a security video spraying a liquid near the outer door of the office and then lighting the area with a handheld lighter,” according to a DOJ news release.

He left through a staircase as the blaze spread, the Justice Department said, and the fire damaged the outside of the office door and surrounding areas, with sprinklers discharged on multiple floors.

Multiple employees were in the well-known progressive senator’s office at the time of the fire, and it’s unknown how many other people were in the building. No injuries were reported in the incident.

If convicted, Soghomonian could face between five and 20 years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine, according to the Justice Department.

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