The case against a 19-year-old Billings white supremacist accused last year of threatening an American Indian man with a gun was resolved Thursday through a plea agreement.
Allen Goff appeared before Judge Larry Herman and pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor count of obstruction. Herman followed a plea agreement and sentenced Goff to 40 days in jail. Goff was given credit for the more than 40 days he served in jail following his arrest.
A charge of felony assault with a weapon filed against Goff for the same incident was resolved through a deferred prosecution agreement approved this week.
According to the agreement, the felony charge will be held in abeyance for three years. During that time, Goff agreed to not violate any state, federal and local laws, and he is prohibited from possessing firearms.
It is the second time Goff has avoided a felony conviction for a gun incident.
In May 2010, a jury acquitted Goff of felony assault for shooting a Hispanic teenager in the leg during a confrontation outside a late-night house party.
Before the trial, Goff pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of carrying a concealed weapon. A motion by prosecutors to revoke his suspended sentence for that conviction is pending.
Prosecutors alleged that the shooting was racially motivated, but a judge tossed out evidence that supported that theory prior to trial.
Goff has been identified as a leader of the Montana Creators Assembly, a white supremacist group that formed as an offshoot of a larger organization called the Creativity Movement. The organization espouses white supremacy and preparation for a future race war.
The Montana Creators Assembly is believed to be responsible for the distribution of racist fliers in Billings and acts of vandalism at local churches.
Yellowstone County Attorney Scott Twito said Thursday that the latest case against Goff proved to be difficult for several reasons. The deferred prosecution agreement was "the best resolution we could get," he said.
A description of the gun that the alleged victim provided police did not match any weapons found during a search of Goff or a residence shortly after the incident, Twito said. There were also no independent eyewitness to the alleged assault, he said.
Billings police continued to investigate the case until recently, the prosecutor said. A trial was scheduled to begin Monday.
The victim was consulted several times about the plea agreement, Twito said, and he agreed that the deferred prosecution was the "best arrangement" that could result in the case.
Goff's public defender, Jesse Meyers, said Thursday that Goff denies the incident happened.
"He maintains that he's not guilty of the (assault) charge and it just didn't happen," Meyers said after Goff appeared in Justice Court.
Goff was accused of confronting an 18-year-old American Indian man in the West Park Plaza parking lot last Nov. 2. The alleged victim said he was sitting in a car when a car driven by Goff pulled up nearby. Goff got out with a handgun, the man said, and threatened to shoot him.
The man, who said he recognized Goff, drove away and called police from a nearby store.
Goff was found by police a short time later hiding in the attic of a house on Avenue C.
Goff was arrested and booked into the county jail on the felony assault and misdemeanor obstruction charges. His bond was initially set at $100,000, but a judge later reduced it to $50,000.
Goff posted the bond and was released from the county jail Dec. 13.