A former Long Island man who served 28 months in prison for threatening the lives of more than 40 financial regulators was arrested Monday by FBI agents on charges he threatened four federal judges, officials said.
Vincent McCrudden, 53, who has lived in Long Beach and Dix Hills, was charged with sending threats through the mail, attempting to impede the work of federal judges and failing to follow the instructions of federal probation officers to stop the threats.
McCrudden, who now lives in Long Island City, Queens, pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Monday in federal court in Central Islip.
U.S. District Judge Denis Hurley ordered McCrudden held without bail as a danger to the community, pending hearings.
Eastern District federal prosecutor Christopher Caffarone said the four judges who had received threats from McCrudden, often in obscenity-filled letters, were Hurley; Robert Katzmann, the chief judge of the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan; Reena Raggi, a judge on the appeals court; and William Pauley, a district court judge in Southern District in Manhattan.
Previously, McCrudden was sentenced to prison for posting notices on the Internet that offered rewards of up to $100,000 for the killing of financial regulators.
Caffarone said that FBI agents had found no weapons in McCrudden's possession when they arrested him.
McCrudden, who represented himself, said he had no intention of injuring anyone and insisted the letters were him exercising his rights to free speech.
"I never hurt anyone," McCrudden said.
Hurley, however, noted physical injury is not the only type of harm, and said the financial regulators "must have lived in fear."
The charge by probation officers placed McCrudden in the unusual legal position of having to prove to the court that he disobeyed their instructions when they said they told him to stop writing the letters.
The government normally has the burden of proof, but in the case of somebody being supervised by a probation officer, the accused has to show that he or she followed instructions.
McCrudden insisted the officers only suggested he stop writing the letters, not that they had ordered him to cease. Hurley said that would be an issue to be determined at a later hearing.McCrudden has a lengthy history of asserting he is being treated unfairly by government officials. In court papers, prosecutor Caffarone said McCrudden's "rage has shifted from regulators to federal judges . . . [he is] displeased with several decisions . . . in his numerous civil cases and criminal case."
McCrudden's brother, Kevin, who was in court, said after the hearing that his brother is "a tormented person" and insisted he has reason to be, because he has not had a fair chance to tell his side of the story.