Indictment Returned for Arson at Burlington Office of Senator Sanders

Burlington, Vermont – The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Vermont stated that a federal grand jury returned an indictment today charging Shant Soghomonian (also known as Michael Soghomonian), 35, previously of Northridge, California with using fire to damage the building at One Church Street – a building used in interstate commerce. He will be arraigned on the indictment before U.S. Magistrate Judge Kevin J. Doyle next week, likely on Tuesday April 23, 2024. Soghomonian also appeared before Judge Doyle today for a continuation of a detention hearing, and Judge Doyle ordered that Soghomonian be detained pending further proceedings.

According to court records, Soghomonian entered the building at One Church Street in Burlington on the morning of April 5, 2024, and proceeded to the third floor where the Vermont office of Senator Sanders is located. 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 video recordings showed Soghomonian wearing and carrying distinctive items, and those distinctive items were later recovered during his arrest and subsequent searches of his hotel room and vehicle.

The United States Attorney emphasizes that the charge in the indictment contains only allegations and that Soghomonian is presumed innocent unless and until he is proven guilty. If convicted, Soghomonian faces a maximum possible penalty of not less than 5 years and not more than 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. The actual sentence, however, would be determined by the Court with guidance from the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines and sentencing factors in the United States Code. 

The prosecutor is Assistant United States Attorney Matthew Lasher. Soghomonian is represented by Assistant Federal Public Defender Mary Nerino.


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