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Wisconsin man admits to firebombing anti-abortion group's office

By Nate Raymond

(Reuters) - A Wisconsin man pleaded guilty on Friday to firebombing a conservative anti-abortion group's office in May 2022, just days after a leaked draft of the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling overturning the nationwide right to abortion became public.

Hridindu Sankar Roychowdhury, 29, faces a mandatory minimum of five years in prison and up to 20 years behind bars after pleading guilty in federal court in Madison to maliciously attempting to damage Wisconsin Family Action's office.

He was arrested in March at an airport in Boston after authorities said DNA from a thrown-away bag containing a partially eaten burrito had helped them identify who caused the May 8 fire. He is slated to be sentenced on Feb. 14.

Roychowdhury's lawyer did not respond to a request for comment. Wisconsin Family Action did not respond to a request for comment.

The fire at its office occurred just days after Politico on May 2 published a draft of the U.S. Supreme Court's blockbuster ruling overturning the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that had legalized abortion nationwide.

The draft opinion, authored by conservative Justice Samuel Alito, set off a political firestorm, with abortion-rights supporters staging protests nationwide. It was only marginally different than the final decision issued on June 24.

The fire occurred in the early morning on May 8. Prosecutors said that components of a Molotov cocktail were recovered. Outside the building, someone had spray painted "if abortions aren't safe then you aren't either."

According to prosecutors, investigators recovered DNA from that Molotov cocktail, a building window and a lighter that matched Roychowdhury's DNA.

Law enforcement identified Roychowdhury as a suspect after investigating a separate graffiti incident at the Wisconsin State Capitol and tracing a truck used by the suspects to a house in which Roychowdhury resides.

(Reporting by Nate Raymond in Boston; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)