Not Guilty Plea Entered in Jewish Threats Case

MANHATTAN (CN) – The former journalist accused of making phony bomb threats to several Jewish Community Centers last summer in a bid to frame a former lover pleaded not guilty on Monday to a federal cyberstalking charge.

Juan Thompson, 32, appeared in court Monday afternoon in a loose-fitting prison jumpsuit, and offered his plea to U.S. District Judge Kevin Castel.

Thompson was arrested in St. Louis in March and faces a possible five years in prison.

According to court documents, Thompson stalked a former romantic interest who had broken up with him by making bomb threats in her name to Jewish Community Centers and to the Anti-Defamation League.

Government prosecutors referred to the alleged effort as a “sustained campaign to harass and intimidate”  the unnamed ex-girlfriend.

At the time of Thompson’s arrest, then-U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara  condemned the threats against the Jewish Community Centers, declaring threats of violence against people based on religion or race “unacceptable, un-American, and criminal.”

On Monday Assistant U.S. Attorney Jacob Warren, told Judge Castel that the F.B.I. had seized 25 electronic devices including laptops, tablets and cell-phones from Thompson’s home. The government also served warrants to search Thompson’s email and Twitter accounts.

Thompson’s attorney, federal public defender Jullian Harris, did not request bail for his client and declined to comment on the case when approached by reporters.

The next hearing in the case is set for May 18, 2017.

Thompson lost his job at the political watchdog website the Intercept in January 2016 after his supposed exclusive interview with a relative of Charleston mass murderer Dylann Roof turned out to be fake.

Thompson’s Twitter bio includes the Malcolm X quote “You show me a capitalist, I’ll show you a bloodsucker.”

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