Former Intercept reporter Juan Thompson, who is believed to have made bomb threats against at least 12 Jewish targets, has pled guilty to charges of cyberstalking and hoax-making. Thompson was arrested in March following an FBI investigation into his actions, which were part of a bizarre plot to frame his ex-girlfriend.
According to court papers, Thompson aggressively targeted his former girlfriend, referred to only as "Victim 1," after she ended their relationship in July of 2016. For months, starting on or about July 27, 2016, he sent a series of harassing anonymous emails and faxes to Victim 1's coworkers, in which he claimed she had an STD and was anti-Semitic, among other things. He also threatened to leak naked photos of her to the public and contacted the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, pretending to be a stranger whom she had shown child pornography "at a disco-tech." In August of 2016, Victim 1 obtained an Order of Protection against him.
Starting in January of 2017, Thompson made a series of bomb threats against Jewish Community Centers throughout the country in his name and the victim's name, and tried to accuse her of attempting to frame him. In late February, he tweeted, "I'm being tormented by an anti-semite named [Victim 1]... She sent an antijewish bom [sic] threat in my name. Help."
"I committed all of these acts with the intent to disrupt my ex-romantic partner's life and cause her great distress," Thompson said today, according to Courthouse News. "For this, I deeply apologize and plead guilty."
The former reporter first made headlines last year when it was revealed that he had fabricated his reporting with a supposed relative of mass shooter Dylann Roof. It was later discovered that he had invented sources in numerous other stories.
"For months our client could not escape a living nightmare as the revenge porn, stalking, spoofing, doxxing, swatting became more intense," said Carrie Goldberg, a lawyer for the victim. "The attack took over her life."
Goldberg is pleased that Thompson has pled guilty, and says she is "looking forward" to the sentencing phase of his trial. However, she notes that there is a serious problem in the investigation of such cases. "I'm so fucking mad—mad for my clients—that these investigations take so goddamn long," she said. "The victims are in a living hell, being pummeled and unable to fight back. And what are we waiting for? Law enforcers to believe the victim... agencies to have enough forensic detectives to read the evidence, and, in many cases, for the attack to get worse, because it always does."
If law enforcement had taken Victim 1's case seriously when Thompson first began harassing her—nearly a year ago—things may not have escalated to such extremes. "She was terrorized for months," said Goldberg. "We give tremendous credit to the team that investigated and prosecuted this case, and expect it to be a lesson about the patterns of escalation we so often see at our firm among the victims of stalking who we represent."