Saturday, July 29, 2023

Two Defendants Arraigned for Planned Parenthood Clinic Attack in Orange County

SANTA ANA, California – Two defendants, Chance Brannon and Tibet Ergul, are scheduled to be arraigned today on charges related to a firebombing attack on a Planned Parenthood clinic in Orange County that occurred in March 2022.

The indictment, unsealed on July 14, also includes a third defendant, Xavier Batten of Florida, who was arrested on Friday by the FBI. Batten's initial appearance in United States District Court in the Middle District of Florida was held on Friday, where he was ordered to be held without bond pending trial.

The indictment charges all three defendants with one count of conspiracy and one count of malicious destruction of property by fire and explosion. Brannon and Ergul are additionally charged with one count of possession of an unregistered destructive device and one misdemeanor count of intentional damage to a reproductive health services facility, violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act.

The attack took place in Costa Mesa when the defendants allegedly threw a Molotov cocktail at the Planned Parenthood clinic. Security videos showed two hooded individuals throwing the ignited device at the front door, causing a fire that spread across the building.

As a result, the clinic had to cancel approximately 30 appointments and remained closed the following day.

United States Attorney Martin Estrada stated that such violent acts are intolerable, and law enforcement is committed to holding those responsible accountable.

Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office, Donald Alway, emphasized the importance of reporting information about violent attacks to prevent potential harm.

The defendants face significant penalties if found guilty, with each count carrying a minimum sentence of five years in federal prison and a maximum sentence of 20 years.

The FBI and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service are leading the ongoing investigation, with the Costa Mesa Police Department providing substantial assistance.

An indictment is not a conviction, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

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