A St. Louis man accused of making eight bomb threats against Jewish institutions pleaded guilty to cyberstalking charges.
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. In April, the former journalist denied the charges.
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 nearly 150 bomb threats to Jewish institutions during the first three months of this year. Nearly three weeks after Thompson’s arrest, an Israeli-American teen was arrested in Israel for allegedly making the bulk of the threats.
In Thompson’s case, the government collected evidence from about two dozen laptops, tablets and cellphones seized from his home, according to the AP.
Thompson, who previously worked as a journalist for The Intercept news website and was fired last year for ethics breaches, including manufacturing quotes, had said earlier that he had no anti-Semitic beliefs and was being framed as a black man. Prosecutors allege that the JCC bomb threats were part of a larger plot to take revenge on an ex-girlfriend.
He was arrested March 3 for the threats, which carry a penalty of up to five years in prison and a fine up to $250,000. Bail was denied at the time of his arrest.
The FBI complaint says Thompson threatened institutions including the ADL, JCCs in San Diego and New York City, schools in New York and Michigan, and a Jewish history museum in New York City.