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Savannah man claiming to be a ‘sovereign citizen’ convicted on gun charge

A federal jury took less than 15 minutes to find a self-proclaimed ‘sovereign citizen’ guilty of illegally carrying a gun.

A previous felony conviction prohibited firearm possession

A federal jury took less than 15 minutes to find a self-proclaimed ‘sovereign citizen’ guilty of illegally carrying a gun.

Michael Levant Williams, 36, of Savannah, was found guilty after a two-day trial in U.S. District Court in Savannah, said Bobby L. Christine, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. The charge carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison, followed by a period of supervised release. There is no parole in the federal system.

“For the second time this year, a so-called ‘sovereign citizen’ has tried, and failed, to excuse his illegal actions in the Southern District by claiming to be above the law,” said U.S. Attorney Christine. “No one is above the law – especially those claiming fictitious legal status in an attempt to circumvent their guilt for repeated criminal behavior.”

Williams, who had a previous federal felony conviction for Possession with Intent to Distribute Controlled Substances, was arrested during a traffic stop by Savannah Police officers Nov. 22, 2018 on a traffic violation. A firearm was recovered during a subsequent search. As a convicted felon, he is prohibited from possessing weapons.

After his arrest, and during subsequent legal proceedings, Williams acted as his own attorney and claimed to be a “sovereign citizen” who was immune from the law. In an unrelated case in U.S. District Court in January, an Augusta man who similarly claimed “sovereign citizen” status was sentenced to 25 years in prison for fraudulent legal filings that targeted federal officials.

The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Savannah Police Department, and prosecuted for the United States by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joshua Bearden and Karl Knoche.

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