Clerk Indicted In Internet Hoax Threatening Stadiums
Wednesday, February 28th 2007, 9:13 pm
News On 6
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) _ A Wisconsin man arrested last fall in connection with prank Internet warnings of terrorist attacks against NFL stadiums was indicted Wednesday on a federal charge of conveying the false information.
Jake J. Brahm is accused of posting threats to detonate ``dirty bombs'' at seven stadiums that had games on Oct. 22.
Authorities said his actions wasted homeland security efforts and likened them to the ``Internet version of yelling fire in a crowded theater.''
However, Brahm's lawyer, Walter A. Lesnevich, said the incident was ``greatly blown out of proportion.''
``This was a stupid mistake by a kid that nobody took seriously,'' Lesnevich said.
The 22-year-old Brahm, of Wauwatosa, Wis., will plead not guilty, the lawyer said.
Brahm, who had been a grocery store clerk, is no longer working and is not attending school, Lesnevich said.
Brahm could face up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted on the single charge, conveying false information about an attack by a ``radiological dispersal device.''
The charge is part of the Patriot Act and does not appear to have ever been examined by any federal court, Lesnevich said.
He noted that the statute requires that the information at issue must ``reasonably have been believed'' to be criminal.
The indictment said Brahm admitted posting the threat about 40 times on a Web site between September and Oct. 18. He surrendered to federal authorities and appeared in court in Milwaukee on Oct. 20.
He has remained free on bond since then. An arraignment in federal court in New Jersey was not immediately scheduled.
One of the threats, dated Oct. 12, appeared on the Web site ``The Friend Society,'' which links to various online forums and off-color cartoons. Its author, identified in the message as ``javness,'' said that trucks would deliver radiological bombs to stadiums in Miami, Atlanta, Seattle, Houston, Cleveland, Oakland, Calif., and the New York City area, and that Osama bin Laden would claim responsibility.
Authorities said the New York-area venue referred to Giants Stadium in nearby East Rutherford, N.J., where the New York Jets played the Detroit Lions on Oct. 22.
The indictment was handed up by a federal grand jury in Newark, where prosecutors are handling the case.