Man Charged with Threatening Local Muslim Group

John David Weissinger, 53, of San Diego pleaded not guilty Tuesday

A San Diego man accused of sending a threatening message to a local Muslim civil rights group told NBC 7 he was sorry outside court Tuesday.

John David Weissinger, 53, of San Diego pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges of making a criminal threat and possessing, buying or selling an illegal large-capacity ammunition magazine.

On January 14, prosecutors say Weissinger left a threatening voice-mail message at the San Diego chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) -- a message the receptionist received the next morning. He is also suspected of sending a threatening email to the group's Washington, D.C. chapter.

Weissinger, who was arrested last week, spoke to NBC 7 outside court and expressed remorse.

He said he had been drinking too much while watching the terrorism incident in France unfold so he did something stupid.

"When people are under the influence of alcohol, they tend to do a lot of things they would not otherwise do or later regret and would normally think twice about had they been sober," said Weissinger's attorney Tom Matthews. "Does he regret this? Does he think twice about it? I know my client certainly wishes he could take the day back and wished the situation never presented itself."

Weissinger said the gun magazine officials found at the time of his arrest was part of several weapons that belonged to his late brother. He said he sold most of the weapons he inherited.

The defendant was released on bond but the judge ordered him to attend meetings for substance abuse and refrain from alcohol.

His release on a $50,000 bond -- though prosecutors asked for a $140,000 bail--  has angered some of his alleged CAIR victims, who called him a terrorist.

"In the past few weeks, it has affected my life," said Hanif Mohebi of CAIR. "I don't feel safe. What about the victims of terrorism?"

Mohebi told NBC 7 has this been a Muslim person accused of making threats, bail would have been raised.

Weissinger faces five years in jail if convicted.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story said Weissinger is accused of threatening a local mosque in October. We regret the error.

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