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Federal judge dismisses charges against anti-abortion activist

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - A judge has dismissed federal charges against Marshfield anti-abortion activist Ralph Lang.

That’s because he’s already been convicted in state court – and the U.S. Attorney says a defendant cannot generally be found guilty on both state and federal charges for the same offense.

The 65-year-old Lang was convicted May 30th by a Dane County Circuit Court jury, for plotting to kill an abortion doctor in Madison. He was found guilty of attempted first-degree intentional homicide. Lang is scheduled to be sentenced August 2nd.

U.S. Attorney John Vaudreuil said he would ask Justice Department officials in Washington to bring back the federal case if he does not believe the state’s sentence is adequate enough. He said there would have to be significant federal interest in reviving the federal charges and, “We think there is.”

The U.S. Attorney’s complaint said Lang intimidated others from using a federally-funded program.

He was arrested in May of 2011, after telling a motel clerk that he accidentally shot a bullet through the door of his room.

At his state trial, Lang said he planned to shoot an abortion doctor the next day at the Planned Parenthood clinic in Madison – and he wished he had a machine gun so he could, “mow down” the entire staff.

Vaudreuil said he did not see a need to drop his federal case until now – because he had assumed that Lang would be tried by the feds before state got to him.