The members of the “covert group,” — who range from 65 to 73 — were allegedly at least partially inspired by a book by a right-wing blogger and plotted to attack government employees with a deadly toxin ricin. But their age, various health problems and their apparent lack of ability to actually pull off the plot has raised questions about how big of a threat they really presented. Lawyers for some of the defendants have raised their age as a barrier to them being able to pull off the crimes they have been accused of, and all four defendants have pleaded not guilty.
Now, thanks to an extensive piece in Esquire by Georgia-based journalist Tom Junod, we know a lot more about the guy who worked as a confidential informant for the feds in the case. It turns out he might not be a model citizen.
Some quick facts about Joe Sims, 46, gleaned from Junod’s piece:
- At the age of 18, he married a 14-year-old.
- He married another woman he met on the job in 2000, and the woman’s daughter filed a complaint with the Sheriff’s office in early 2010 claiming Sims had molested her.
- “He’s my ex-husband and he molested both my daughters,” his second wife told Esquire. “That’s all I’m gonna say. He’s a bad man and he’s done very bad stuff.”
- Sims was charged with six counts of sexual crimes that began in 2002 on March 25, 2010, including the molestation of minors, the dissemination of child pornography to minors and having “carnal intercourse” with his stepdaughter.
- A man who was supposed to be Sims’ best friend a few years back (and who is now married to Sims’ first wife and lives next door to Sims’ parents) repeatedly told Esquire Sims was “scum” before reconsidering. “No, he’s lower than scum,” said Dean Suttles. “I don’t know what’s lower than scum — maybe a snake.”
- After spending seven months in jail and repeatedly trying to make contact with the FBI, he finally got his chance to meet with a federal agent to tell the feds about an alleged plot to blow up buildings in Atlanta. He failed a polygraph test.
- When he got out of jail on a bond he says was secured by his sister, Sims got back in touch with the same federal agent he previously worked with to tell him about an individual the FBI thought was worth keeping an eye on.
- He still hasn’t gone to trial on the sex crime charges.
- Defendant Dan Roberts described Sims as a “son of a bitch” after he realized Sims had took off after they were arrested on the morning of Nov. 1.
Read the full profile, and check out a photo of Sims sitting shirtless in a bathtub smoking a cigar and holding a pistol as a woman poses next to him holding a bottle of rum, over at Esquire.