Man charged with threats to US Jewish groups pleads guilty

Ex-journalist pleads guilty in Jewish threats case

NEW YORK (AP) - A former journalist pleaded guilty on Tuesday to cyberstalking and making fake bomb threats, admitting he threatened Jewish organizations to disrupt his ex-girlfriend's life and cause her "great distress".

At the time of Thompson's arrest in March, the United States had experienced a string of more than 90 bomb threats and acts of vandalism targeting Jewish cemeteries, community centers and places of worship.

Juan Thompson, 32, had been accused of menacing JCCs with these threats from January 28 to February 22 in order to exact revenge upon his ex-girlfriend, officials said.

The complaint against Thompson said he allegedly started emailing ugly accusations to his ex-girlfriend's employer, a New York City housing and social services agency. "For this, I deeply apologize".

Juan Thompson, 32, also pleaded guilty on Tuesday in a U.S. District Court in Manhattan to a charge of conveying false information and hoaxes, The Associated Press reported.

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Defense lawyers and prosecutors told Castel they have not agreed on how to apply federal sentencing guidelines to Thompson's case.

The cyberstalking charges are for eight threats against Jewish community centers and the Anti-Defamation League, which federal prosecutors say were copycat crimes during a wave of almost 150 bomb threats to Jewish institutions during the first three months of this year. "Thompson's threats not only inflicted emotional distress on his victim, but also harmed Jewish communities around the country", Kim said.

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. These threats provoked panic and emergency evacuations at numerous Jewish organizations, including community centers, during the early months of 2017. One message claimed he had placed two bombs in a Jewish school and was "eager for Jewish Newtown", a reference to the 2012 school massacre in CT, prosecutors said.

A former reporter fired by the online news site the Intercept for fake stories, Thompson allegedly made some threats in the girlfriend's name to smear her after they broke up, and others naming him that were created to make it look like she was framing him.

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