A New York City man is facing years in prison after threatening to kill politicians and conservative broadcasters, federal prosecutors said Friday.
Rickey Johnson, also known as "Nigel Dawn Defarren," was convicted Thursday of threatening a federal official and making interstate threats. Johnson was on trial for threatening to kill U.S. Senator Joe Manchin and Fox News hosts Greg Gutfeld and Laura Ingraham.
The 48-year-old was convicted of two counts of transmitting threatening interstate communications and one count of threatening a federal official. The first two counts carry a maximum sentence of five years, while the third carries up to ten. Prosecutors say Johnson was acquitted of one count of threatening a federal official.
According to prosecutors, Johnson, 48, posted public videos on Instagram in which he threatened to kill Manchin, Gutfeld and Ingraham. On Jan. 30 of last year, Johnson sent a private message to Gutfeld that threatened, "you will be killed."
Additionally, on Feb. 3, Johnson posted public messages in which he stated that he intended to “kill” Gutfeld, as well as Manchin and Ingraham. Johnson declared that the senator was “dead” and would be “executed"; told Gutfeld that was was "going to take [his] life"; and said that he would "kill" Ingraham with his "bare hands."
Following the announcement of the initial charges against Johnson, senior law enforcement officials said there was no evidence of any specific plot or weapons, but the threats made were serious enough to warrant charges.
“Rather than express his political differences constructively, Rickey Johnson escalated his discord by instilling fear. Johnson's attempts to scare and stifle a U.S. Senator and two Fox News hosts were federal crimes for which he has now been convicted by a New York jury," Damian Williams, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said.
Johnson is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Kaplan on May 25.