A radical leftist journalist who was fired from the investigative site the Intercept for falsifying details in his stories has been charged with making several bomb threats against Jewish community centers in what authorities allege was a plot to frame an ex-girlfriend. Juan Thompson, 31, was arrested in St. Louis by the FBI and is being charged in federal court in New York’s Southern District.
The federal complaint against Thompson alleges that he began a campaign of harassment against a woman in the New York City area after she ended a romantic relationship with him in July. He is said to have sent threatening emails to the woman and to have sent defamatory emails and faxes to her employer, alleging in part that she is an anti-Semite. Several weeks after Jewish institutions across the country began receiving bomb threats this year, the complaint says, Thompson began emailing and calling Jewish centers, schools, museums, and activist groups in New York City, Michigan, San Diego, and Dallas and claiming to be aware of bombs placed on their grounds. Some of the calls and emails identified Thompson’s ex-girlfriend as the person who had placed the bomb, while some identified Thompson himself in what appears to have been an attempt by Thompson to create the impression that his former romantic partner was trying to frame him.
The first nationwide wave of threats against Jewish centers took place on Jan. 9 of this year. Thompson’s first threat is alleged to have been made on Jan. 28, and NBC reports that authorities believe he was a “copycat” who is not solely responsible for the threats nationwide. The complaint describes a total of eight threats against seven locations; more than 100 anti-Semitic threats have been made in total in the United States since the beginning of the year. Thompson is also not accused of involvement in the vandalism of a Jewish cemetery in St. Louis, which was discovered Feb. 20, nor in the vandalism of a Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia on Saturday.
This story in St. Louis’ Riverfront Times details the circumstances of Thompson’s time at the Intercept, from which he was fired in January 2016 after editors discovered that numerous details in his stories had been falsified or could not be verified. Several claims that Thompson made to the Riverfront Times could likewise not be confirmed, including his assertion that he was undergoing treatment for testicular cancer. The federal complaint against Thompson notes that, shortly after she ended their relationship, Thompson made the false claim to the alleged victim of his harassment that he had been shot multiple times and was near death.