A New Jersey man was arrested on Wednesday after he repeatedly threatened to kill a federal judge, telling a law clerk that he was "gonna put a bullet in the judge's brain," according to prosecutors.
Jonathan Williams, 46, was brought into custody around 5 p.m., and was charged with making a threat to assault and murder the federal judge, U.S. Attorney Rachael Honig said.
On Monday, Williams called a judge's chambers at least twice, according to court documents and statements, with the first call answered by a courtroom deputy. Williams talked to the deputy about a civil suit he's involved in that is before the judge, saying the case needed to get started immediately so he could "get my settlement," court documents state.
The second time Williams called, he spoke to a law clerk and said "Before the snow starts falling on my head, I'm gonna put a bullet in the Judge's brain," and called the judge a "scumbag," according to court documents.
Later in the day, he called the judge's chambers once again, but this time U.S. Marshals were there for the call and overheard the conversation. Williams went on a tirade toward the employee who answered the phone, allegedly making sexually-explicit, profane and racist remarks, before issuing another threat.
"You'll see! You'll lose your job when I kill your boss," Williams allegedly said over the phone. He then repeated the threat again before the call ending, court documents said.
On Tuesday, Williams went to enter a Newark law firm, but in the lobby was denied entry by security. After identifying himself, Williams screamed that he was going to "blow the judge's brains out," according to court documents. He repeated the threat before leaving the office.
The Newark resident faces up to 10 years in prison, as well as a $250,000 fine. Sources told NBC New York that Williams, who apparently is homeless, was previously arrested for threatening a Newark city council member.
Williams is due back in court at 2 p.m. Thursday for a virtual hearing. Attorney information for Williams was not immediately available.
Law enforcement has been on alert for threats to federal judges, after a man killed the son of U.S. District Judge Esther Salas, and injured her husband in July 2020.
Authorities have said Den Hollander, a men’s rights lawyer with a history of anti-feminist writings, posed as a FedEx delivery person and fatally shot 20-year-old Daniel Anderl and wounded his father, Mark Anderl, at the family's New Jersey home. Salas was in another part of the home at the time and was not injured.