St. Louis Man Charged With Threats to Jewish Groups Expected to Plead Guilty

(Reuters) -
St. Louis, Man, Charged, Threats, Jewish Groups, Plead Guilty
Juan Thompson, a former journalist who was arrested on a cyberstalking charge related to threats against Jewish organizations. (Warren County Sheriff’s Department/AP, File)

A former U.S. journalist is expected to plead guilty to a cyberstalking charge related to making bomb threats against Jewish organizations in the United States in a plot to get revenge on a former friend, prosecutors said in letter filed on Tuesday in Manhattan federal court.

Juan Thompson, 32, is set to appear in court next Monday morning to enter a guilty plea, according to the letter, submitted by Acting U.S. Attorney Joon Kim in Manhattan.

Thompson’s attorneys could not immediately be reached for comment. Before his extradition to New York, he denied the charges, said he had no anti-Semitic beliefs and said he was being framed and targeted as a black man.

“Make no mistake: this is a modern-day lynching,” he said in a telephone interview from the Warren County jail in Missouri.

The prosecution’s letter did not give details about the planned plea, which will not become final until Thompson enters it in court. Thompson was arrested in St. Louis, Missouri on March 3, and has been in custody since then, charged with one count of cyberstalking.

Federal prosecutors have said Thompson engaged in a vicious, months-long harassment campaign against his former friend, using various email accounts to accuse her of various crimes and, finally, making bomb threats targeting Jewish groups.

Thompson made some threats in his own name and then accused his former friend of framing him, and made other threats posing as her, prosecutors said.

U.S. authorities had been investigating a surge of threats against Jewish organizations, including more than 100 bomb threats against community centers in dozens of states in separate waves since January.

The organizations Thompson threatened included a Jewish museum in New York and the Anti-Defamation League, according to a criminal complaint in Manhattan federal court. All occurred after the first flood of phone threats in early January.

Thompson was a reporter for the Intercept news website, which fired him last year saying he invented sources and quotes.