Man Accused Of Setting Fire To Bernie Sanders' Office Is Charged

The 35-year-old man is facing up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

Federal prosecutors charged a 35-year-old man accused of setting fire to the office of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Sunday.

Shant Soghomonian, also known as Michael Soghomonian, was arrested on one charge of using fire to damage a building used in interstate commerce, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Vermont. The fire took place in Burlington, Vermont, on Friday. Soghomonian is facing up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. An initial court appearance for Soghomonian has not been set yet.

“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. A blaze quickly began while Soghomonian departed via a staircase,” the statement said.

Several staff members were inside the office at the time of the fire, but no one was injured. (Following the incident, Sanders’ office issued a statement that said the senator was not present during the fire.) According to the attorney’s office statement, there was fire damage to the office door and vestibule, and water damage from the sprinklers impacted the office floor.

In a statement released after the fire, Sanders thanked “local, state, and federal law enforcement in response to the fire at my Vermont office,” according to NBC News.

“I am also thankful that none of the many people who were in the office building at the time of the fire were injured,” he said.

The fire at Sanders’ office follows an increase in threats against members of Congress, according to The Washington Post.

There have been several attacks on lawmakers and people close to them in recent years. In 2022, a man attacked the husband of former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Paul Pelosi, with a hammer; last year, a man attacked Rep. Angie Craig (D-Minn.) in the elevator of her apartment.

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