Max Misch

Max Misch, seen in an earlier court appearance, has been released on conditions after pleading not guilty to reportedly using a racial slur against a Black teenager. 

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BENNINGTON — A self-described white nationalist is facing his eighth criminal case in Bennington County, pleading not guilty Monday to a fresh charge of disorderly conduct as a hate crime.

Max Misch, 38, of Bennington, is accused of engaging in an argument with a woman in June after he reportedly used a racial slur against her Black son and another teenage boy, according to court documents. He is charged with a misdemeanor, punishable by up to two years in jail and/or a $2,000 fine.

Misch remains free from jail on conditions while his numerous felony and misdemeanor charges are being litigated. His oldest open case — allegations of illegally possessing rifle magazines — dates back to February 2019.

According to a Bennington Police statement in his newest case, a local woman reported getting into an argument with Misch mid-afternoon on June 5 after her 15-year-old son said Misch used a racial slur against him and a 17-year-old friend.

The argument was described as taking place outside the woman’s home on Willowbrook Drive.

The 15-year-old boy told police that Misch said “white power” while passing him and his friend on the street earlier that day. Misch also reportedly said Black people didn’t belong here and told the teens to come and fight him, Officer Amanda Knox stated in the affidavit.

Knox said a friend of the woman witnessed her arguing with Misch and heard Misch “saying all types of racist names,” as well as telling the woman to train her son on how to act correctly.

DENIED ACCUSATIONS

Misch denied the allegations, telling the investigator he was walking down Willowbrook Drive when the teens told him to get out of there and threatened him. He said they were the same teens who had threatened him outside his home earlier this year.

Misch’s landlady, listed as a witness to the argument, said Max and his girlfriend were leaving their home when two teens started yelling at him as being “racist.” As the couple tried to continue walking, the landlady said she heard the mother of the 15-year-old boy tell Misch and his girlfriend they were going to get themselves beaten up.

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“They didn’t say or do anything to deserve being attacked,” the landlady said in a sworn written statement.

At Bennington Superior criminal court on Monday, Judge Cortland Corsones allowed Misch to remain free on several conditions. They include not having contact with the two teenage boys and the woman with whom he had the argument.

Prosecutors initially wanted Misch to stay 300 feet away from the woman’s home, but the judge granted Misch’s request to shorten the distance to 100 feet, allowing Misch to visit family in the same neighborhood.

OPEN CRIMINAL CASES

This is Misch’s second pending charge of disorderly conduct as a hate crime. He is also accused of fighting with a Black man in Bennington last September.

Meanwhile, Misch is preparing a second motion to have his magazine charges dismissed. His attorney, Fred Bragdon, earlier said they will be making an argument based on Misch’s Second Amendments rights under the U.S. Constitution. The defense’s written motion is due in November.

Authorities said the magazines were purchased after a state ban took effect in October 2018 — which outlaws magazines containing more than 10 rounds for long guns and more than 15 rounds for handguns. Misch is the first person to be prosecuted under this state law.

His original motion to dismiss asserted that the ban violates two articles in the Vermont Constitution: people’s right to bear arms for defense and the government’s being prohibited from passing laws that benefit only certain groups.

The Vermont Supreme Court ruled in February that the ban is a reasonable regulation of people’s right to bear arms for self-defense.

Misch’s most serious charges are two felony counts of first-degree aggravated domestic assault, stemming from allegations that he choked a woman and re-injured her broken arm sometime between December and July. Each charge is punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

Contact Tiffany Tan at ttan@benningtonbanner.com or @tiffgtan both on Facebook and Twitter.