Image via Warren County Jail
Juan Thompson faces federal cyber-stalking charges.
Disgraced journalist Juan Thompson will be taken to New York City in the custody of U.S. Marshals to face federal cyber-stalking charges connected to a string of bomb threats made against Jewish Community Centers.
Thompson had been held in St. Louis since his arrest on March 3. Federal authorities say the threats were part of convoluted plot to frame his ex-girlfriend during a months-long campaign of revenge.
Authorities believe he was a copycat bomb hoaxer, responsible for eight of more than 100 threats reported across the nation.
During initial appearances in St. Louis federal court, the 32-year-old had bizarrely refused even to admit his identity. That changed this afternoon after prosecutors announced a grand jury convened in New York had returned an indictment (see document below) on the cyber-stalking charge.
Thompson was the subject of a Riverfront Times investigation
and a follow-up story last year (Full disclosure: I believe he targeted me for harassment after the stories published
Thompson, dressed in an orange jumpsuit, waived his right to an identity hearing and agreed not to fight plans to send him to New York to face charges. The ex-journalist was fired last year from his reporting job at The Intercept after the news site caught him lying about sources in stories.
This afternoon, U.S. Magistrate Judge David Noce asked Thompson whether he understood his rights and if he would tell "the truth, the whole truth" in response to his questions.
"Yes," Thompson replied.
The proceedings mean he'll be leaving St. Louis sooner than expected. An East Coast snow storm had made it difficult to seat a grand jury, and prosecutors had initially asked for a delay until next week. But their New York counterparts were able to push the case forward and got the indictment about noon today.
Thompson's family had attended his previous court appearances, but they were nowhere in sight today. He was led away by deputy marshals.
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