The Latest: FCC says Schumer requested Jewish center waivers

AP News
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Posted: Mar 03, 2017 4:58 PM
The Latest: FCC says Schumer requested Jewish center waivers

NEW YORK (AP) — The Latest on the arrest in connection with threats made to at least eight Jewish institutions nationwide and the Anti-Defamation League's headquarters in New York City (all times local):

4:55 p.m.

The Federal Communications Commission says Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer requested an emergency waiver to Jewish community centers and their phone carriers in the wake of threats nationwide.

The FCC said Friday that it will grant the waiver to allow the centers and carriers to track the numbers of callers who make threats, even if the caller tries to block the number.

Thirty-one-year-old Juan Thompson was arrested in St. Louis and accused of making at least eight of the scores of threats against Jewish institutions, including a bomb threat to New York's Anti-Defamation League. He appeared in court Friday.

Federal officials have been investigating 122 bomb threats called in to Jewish organizations in three dozen states since Jan. 9 as well as a rash of episodes of vandalism at Jewish cemeteries.

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4:20 p.m.

Missouri's governor is thanking law enforcers for their work in arresting a suspect in connection with threats against Jewish community centers nationwide.

Republican Gov. Eric Greitens says in a statement posted on Facebook that anti-Semitism has no place in Missouri.

Juan Thompson was arrested Friday in St. Louis on charges of making threats against Jewish institutions.

Authorities say the 31-year-old Thompson made the threats in an effort to harass a former girlfriend. They say some of the threats were made in the woman's name.

Greitens says it is shocking to learn that the "disgusting actions" might have originated in Missouri.

He says anyone who threatens religious institutions in the state will be found and brought to justice.

Thompson's lawyer declined to comment in court.

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3:40 p.m.

A former journalist accused of making threats to at least eight Jewish institutions as well as to the Anti-Defamation League's New York office has appeared before a federal judge.

Juan Thompson was handcuffed and wearing brown pants and a blue collarless shirt Friday in St. Louis. He politely answered questions.

He was charged with cyberstalking a former ex-girlfriend and was held without bail. Authorities say the threats were made in an effort to smear her.

Magistrate Judge David Noce asked if Thompson needed a public defender to represent him further. Thompson said he had "a little money" to hire a lawyer.

There were at least a half dozen supporters present who would say only that Thompson's record was clean. His lawyer refused to comment.

His next hearing is March 8.

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3:20 p.m.

A U.S. official says the Federal Communications Commission will grant an emergency waiver that allows Jewish community centers and their phone carriers to track the numbers of callers who make threats.

The official told The Associated Press the agency would issue the waiver that would allow JCCs nationwide and their phone carriers to obtain the phone numbers even when the caller tries to block the number.

The official was not authorized to speak publicly about the waiver and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.

The waiver follows a series of threats made to Jewish Community Centers across the United States. On Friday, federal agents arrested a man suspected of making threats to at least eight Jewish institutions nationwide and the Anti-Defamation League's headquarters in New York City.

— Associated Press writer Michael Balsamo in Los Angeles contributed to this report.

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2:35 p.m.

Jewish community leaders have met with the FBI director after a man was arrested in threats against at least eight Jewish institutions nationwide and the Anti-Defamation League's headquarters in New York City.

The JCC Association of North America says Friday's meeting included discussion of threats directed against Jewish institutions in the past two months.

The association says the Jewish community is deeply grateful for the FBI's "extraordinary effort." It says representatives left the meeting "with the highest confidence" that the agency will work to resolve the matter soon.

Authorities say 31-year-old Juan Thompson made the threats in an effort to harass and vilify his former girlfriend. They say some of the threats were made in the woman's name.

Thompson is due to appear in court in Missouri later Friday.

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12:55 p.m.

A Missouri police official says the man accused of threatening eight Jewish institutions and the Anti-Defamation League will also be questioned about the desecration of a Jewish cemetery.

Authorities say 31-year-old Juan Thompson made the threats in an effort to harass and vilify his former girlfriend. They say some of the threats against the institutions were made in the woman's name.

University City police Lt. Fredrick Lemons tells the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that detectives will question Juan Thompson about 154 headstones toppled at Chesed Shel Emeth (heh-SEHD' shehl EH'-meth) Cemetery in the St. Louis suburb.

Vice President Mike Pence visited the cemetery after the February vandalism and spoke out against acts of hatred, prejudice, violence and anti-Semitism.

There was no information on an attorney who could comment on Thompson's behalf.

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12:30 p.m.

The Anti-Defamation League says it's relieved and gratified after an arrest in connection with threats made against its New York headquarters and at least eight Jewish institutions nationwide.

The ADL said in a statement Friday that Juan Thompson, a fired former journalist, had been on its radar ever since he fabricated a story about Charleston, South Carolina, church shooter Dylann Roof.

Authorities say Thompson made the threats in an effort to harass and vilify his former girlfriend. They say some of the threats were made in the woman's name.

Thompson was arrested in St. Louis and will appear in federal court in Missouri on Friday afternoon on a charge of cyberstalking. There was no information on an attorney who could comment on his behalf.

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10:10 a.m.

An arrest has been made in connection with threats made to at least eight Jewish institutions nationwide and the Anti-Defamation League's headquarters in New York City.

Federal authorities in New York said Friday that Juan Thompson has been arrested.

According to a complaint, the threats were made to harass a former girlfriend. The caller used the victim's name while making some of the threats.

The phone threat to the ADL's Manhattan headquarters was made Feb. 22.

Thompson was expected to appear in a Missouri court later Friday on charges that include cyberstalking.

There was no immediate information on attorney who could comment on his behalf.