By Jennifer Dobner
SALT LAKE CITY (Reuters) - A purported practical joke on a colleague that threatened a plane hijacking and the assassination of President Barack Obama has landed a Utah man in trouble with federal authorities.
Federal prosecutors say Jeremiah Hill placed a letter or note containing the threats inside a colleague's travel case while both were working at Hill Air Force Base, just north of Salt Lake City, last August.
"1 - Hijack Plane, 2 - Kill Obama," the note read, according to court papers filed on Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City.
Transportation Security Administration screeners found the note during a baggage check before Hill's friend boarded a Delta Airlines flight to Arizona, launching an FBI investigation.
Hill, 31, told FBI and Secret Service agents the note was intended as a practical joke, according to a probable cause statement filed with the court. He told officers he specifically "placed (the letter) partially sticking out so that his co-workers would see it," court papers say.
Prosecutors have charged Hill with a misdemeanor count of making a false alarm, accusing him of intentionally circulating a false warning of a plane hijacking. An initial court hearing is set for May 30.
Court papers do not indicate whether Hill has an attorney, and no telephone listing could be found for him in the northern Utah town of Clinton, where he lives.
Richard Essary, the chief public affairs officer for Hill Air Force Base, identified Hill as a civilian employee at the base, but could not comment on the case.
(Editing By Cynthia Johnston and Philip Barbara)