Saturday, February 13, 2021

Feds: Delivery Man Threatened Politicians, Fox News Figures

A New York food delivery worker charged with threatening past and present political figures and Fox News personalities was ordered held without bail Friday after a prosecutor cited the man's criminal history and his “direct and unambiguous" threats, reports The Associated Press.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick Moroney said Rickey Johnson, 47, also known as Nigel Dawn Defarren, made multiple death threats in the past two weeks in videos online, including telling a congresswoman: “Ma'am, you are dead. You will be killed. Smile. I'm going to kill you."

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said Johnson threatened to kill several cable news broadcasters, current and former U.S. senators and members of the House “in rage-fueled posts on Instagram and in chilling private messages.”

The targets of the threats were not identified in court papers, but two law enforcement officials identified some of them as Fox News personalities and Republican former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a frequent Fox commentator. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about alleged victims.

Moroney told U.S. Magistrate Judge Gabriel W. Gorenstein that Johnson, arrested Thursday night, told a broadcaster: “I’m going to take your life. I’m going to tell you before I do it like I’m doing right now." Moroney said the profanity-laced threat was representative of “direct and unambiguous" threats that prove Johnson was a danger.

Gorenstein agreed, citing the “disturbing nature" of the threats and Johnson's criminal history, including a five-year prison sentence for a drug conviction in 2004, for why he cannot be freed on bail before trial on charges of threatening interstate communications and threatening U.S. officials.

Fox News said through spokespersons that any information would have to be released by federal prosecutors. Prosecutors declined to identify alleged victims.

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