Disgraced Journalist Pleads Not Guilty To JCC Threats

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — A disgraced former journalist from St. Louis pleaded not guilty to charges he made threats against Jewish organizations.

Juan Thompson, 31, entered the plea Monday during a brief appearance in Manhattan U.S. District Court.

Thompson was arrested last month in St. Louis and was charged him in connection with a bomb threat to the ADL’s national headquarters last month. Prosecutors said he made threats to at least eight Jewish community centers, schools or other facilities.

He was charged with cyberstalking, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison, authorities said.

READ THE FULL COMPLAINT (pdf)

According to a federal complaint, Thompson dated his ex-girlfriend until last summer. When they broke up, he allegedly started emailing ugly accusations to her employer, a New York City housing and social services agency.

Her boss received an email purporting to be from a national news organization saying that she’d been pulled over for drunken driving, officials said. She received an anonymous email with nude photos of herself and a threat to release them to the public, the complaint said. Her boss got a note saying she had a sexually transmitted disease. The company got anonymous faxes saying she was anti-Semitic. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children got a note saying the woman watched child porn.

The harassment got worse from there when Thompson started making threats against Jewish institutions in her name to portray her as an anti-Semite, federal officials said.

Federal authorities said Thompson made up an email address to make it seem like the woman was sending threats in his name in an effort to frame him.

For example, officials said in early February a JCC in Manhattan received an email bomb threat that read, “Juan Thompson put two bombs in the office of the Jewish center today. He wants to create Jewish newtown tomorrow.”

“Newtown” is a reference to the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School that claimed the lives of 26 educators and children.

They said in one message he claimed he had placed two bombs in a Jewish school and was “eager for Jewish Newtown,” a reference to the 2012 school massacre in Newtown, Connecticut.

The government said it is collecting evidence from about two dozen laptops, tablets and cellphones seized from his home.

Thompson was fired from the online publication The Intercept last year.

His next court date is May 18.

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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