Friday, March 3, 2017
Disgraced black journalist Juan Thompson arrested for anti-Semitic bomb threats in revenge plot to frame ex-girlfriend
A spurned black man, in a bizarre campaign to destroy his ex-girlfriend, made bomb threats to at least eight Jewish community centers in 25 terrifying days. Juan Thompson, 31, of St. Louis, was arrested in connection with the menacing messages sent by phone or email to Jewish organizations from coast to coast. He invoked his girlfriend’s name in making four of the bomb threats, the FBI said in court papers. “Thompson appears to have made some of the ... threats as part of a sustained campaign to harass and intimidate” the former girlfriend, according to an FBI complaint. Thompson, arrested at his grandmother’s house in St. Louis, was held without bail after a Federal Court appearance on charges of cyberstalking. Thompson, in a blue collarless shirt, khaki pants and handcuffs, politely answered questions before he was led away. The threats by Thompson “not only involved the defamation of his female victim, but ... intimidated an entire community,” said William Sweeney, head of the New York FBI office. His arrest followed a massive investigation involving multiple law enforcement groups. The harassment started when the Brooklyn woman dumped Thompson in July 2016, and included emails to her employer claiming that she was an anti-Semite suffering from a sexually-transmitted disease. Her name was also sent to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children with a message claiming the woman kept child pornography photos on her phone. Thompson turned his attention to the Jewish centers in 2017, making the threats between January 28 and February 21. Thompson targeted Jewish groups in Manhattan, Dallas, San Diego and Farmington Hills, Michigan, with half the threats made using his ex-girlfriend’s name and the other half made in his name, according to an FBI complaint. The girlfriend “hates Jewish people (and) is the head of a ring and put a bomb in (the San Diego) center to kill as many Jews asap,” read one of the emails. He tried to pin the threats that used his name on the former paramour, insisting that she was actually trying to undermine him, the FBI charged. Thompson — a disgraced journalist who made headlines in February 2016 when he was fired for using bogus quotes in his stories — even called her out via Twitter. “Know any good lawyers?” he tweeted on February 24, 2017. “Need to stop this nasty/racist #whitegirl I dated who sent a bomb threat in my name & wants me to be raped in jail.” The Intercept, a news website focused on national security, issued a statement distancing itself from the dismissed black ex-employee. The black reporter was fired after claiming that he interviewed a nonexistent cousin of Charleston, South Carolina, church massacre shooter Dylann Roof. Thompson worked at The Intercept between November 2014-January 2016. “We were horrified to learn this morning that Juan Thompson has been arrested,” read the statement. “These actions are heinous and should be fully investigated and prosecuted.” Two of the threats targeted the ADL offices in Manhattan, officials said. The non-profit group, which combats anti-Semitism, reports at least 90 bomb threats to Jewish institutions in 12 states since the beginning of 2017. The arrest was the result of a collaborative investigation between the FBI, NYPD detectives and prosecutors from around the country.