NEW YORK (JTA) — A St. Louis man and disgraced former journalist was sentenced to five years in prison for making bomb threats against Jewish institutions as part of a revenge plot against a former girlfriend.
Juan Thompson, 32, was sentenced Wednesday in a Manhattan federal court.
Judge P. Kevin Castel said he was exceeding the recommended prison sentence due to “the level of intensity, the maliciousness” of Thompson’s crimes, Reuters reported. Castel said Thompson had committed domestic terrorism.
In court, Thompson’s ex-girlfriend, Francesca Rossi, said he had abused her during and after their relationship, and attempted to frame her as a child pornographer and drug dealer, in addition to making bomb threats against Jewish institutions in her name.
“I feared for my life every day,” she said.
Thompson, who was fired from The Intercept news website last year for ethics breaches, pleaded guilty in June to cyberstalking charges in connection with eight threats against Jewish sites, including community centers and the Anti-Defamation League.
Federal prosecutors said the threats 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.
Thompson’s lawyer said he would file an appeal.