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Judge grants three-week extension in Cobb case

CARSON, N.D. -- A judge on Monday granted attorneys an extra three weeks to try to hammer out a plea agreement for a white supremacist accused of terrorizing residents in the southwestern North Dakota city of Leith.

"We possibly could come up with a settlement within the next two weeks," Grant County State's Attorney Todd Schwarz said after a brief pretrial conference for Craig Cobb.

Plea agreements normally would have to be done by this stage in the case. Cobb's attorney, Ryan Heintz, asked the judge to set a trial date and allow the three-week extension for plea negotiations, which District Judge Gail Hagerty granted.

A trial date wasn't set. Schwarz said if the case goes to trial, it will most likely happen in late summer.

Cobb, 62, who sported a shorter haircut than usual on Monday, faces up to five years in prison for each of the seven felony terrorizing charges against him for allegedly approaching Leith residents while on an armed patrol of the small city with Kynan Dutton in November.

Dutton, 29, pleaded guilty last month to reduced misdemeanor charges of menacing and disorderly conduct in a plea agreement that requires him to testify in Cobb's case.

Schwarz said a plea agreement with Cobb wouldn't necessarily have to include jail time but would require some sort of controls to be in place, such as probation that would preclude Cobb from possessing firearms.

"I'm not just going to kick the can down the street," he said.

Schwarz met with Cobb's alleged victims afterward to hear their input on a possible plea agreement.