NEWARK, N.J. – An Essex County, New Jersey, man was arrested today for threatening to injure a federal judge, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced.
Jonathan D. Williams, 46, of Newark, New Jersey, is charged by criminal complaint with making a threat to assault and murder a United States judge. Williams is scheduled to have his initial appearance Nov. 4, 2021, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Edward S. Kiel.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
On Nov. 1, 2021, Williams called a U.S. District Court judge in the District of New Jersey at least two times at the judge’s chambers phone number. The first call was answered by the courtroom deputy for the judge in the judge’s chambers. Williams spoke to the courtroom deputy concerning a civil suit that Williams filed and that is presently before the judge. Williams stated that he needed to get the case in front of a jury immediately in order “to get my settlement.” Williams called the judge’s chambers a second time and spoke to one of the judge’s law clerks. While discussing issues related to his case, he stated: “Before the snow starts falling on my head, I’m gonna put a bullet in the Judge’s brain . . . he’s a scumbag.”
On Nov. 1, 2021, Williams again contacted the judge’s chambers phone number. Members of the U.S. Marshals Service were present when this call was made and overheard Williams’s conversation with an employee who works in the judge’s chambers. Williams directed sexually-explicit, profane, and racially-disparaging remarks at that employee. Williams then stated: “You’ll see! You’ll lose your job when I kill your boss.” Williams then repeated the threat a second time before the call ended.
On Nov. 2, 2021, Williams arrived at the entrance of a law firm office in Newark. When he entered the lobby, two security guards who were present denied Williams entry into the law office. Williams pulled down a protective mask he was wearing over his mouth and nose and identified himself by name as “Jonathan Williams.” Williams told the security guards that he was “going to blow the judge’s brains out.” Williams then repeated the threat before leaving the law office lobby.
The charge of making threats to assault and murder a federal judge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000.
Acting U.S. Attorney Honig credited the U.S. Marshals Service for the District of New Jersey, under the direction of U.S. Marshal Juan Mattos Jr., with the investigation leading to the arrest.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Dean Sovolos of the Office’s National Security Unit in Newark.
The charge and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.