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Long Island

Feds, sources: LI man threatened federal judge who handled ex-national security chief's case

In this May 1, 2008 file photo,

 In this May 1, 2008 file photo, U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan is pictured during a ceremony at the federal courthouse in Washington.   Credit: AP/Charles Dharapak

A Manorville man has been arrested and charged with threatening the life of a federal judge in the District of Columbia, according to court records.

Frank J. Caporusso, 52, was arrested by U.S. Marshals on Long Island after his indictment by a federal grand jury in Washington for threatening the life of the unnamed judge, court papers say.        

Sources familiar with the case, however, say that the unnamed judge was Emmet Sullivan who has figured prominently in the news because of his role in declining to immediately dismiss the case against former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn.

The court papers say that Caporusso was charged in August in Washington with threatening to kill the judge and making the threat in a communication in interstate commerce.

According to sources, Caporusso accessed the “dark web,” including sites that encouraged people to take action against the judge for his overall handling of the Flynn case.

U.S. Magistrate Anne Shields had ordered Caporusso detained until he could be transferred to the District of Columbia for arraignment on the charges at a removal hearing at the federal court in Central Islip on Aug. 31, according to court records.

Caporusso’s attorney, William Wexler, said Wednesday he had represented his client at the removal hearing, but declined to comment further.

Caporusso is currently at the federal jail in Downtown Brooklyn awaiting transfer to Washington, sources said.

Federal marshals, who are assigned to protect judges, heard threatening statements made against the judge on voice mails left on his chamber’s phone on May 14, the court papers said.

In one voice mail, according to the court papers, Caporusso said: “We are professionals. We are trained military people. We will be on rooftops. You will not be safe. Back out of this … before it’s too late, or we will start cutting down your staff. This is not a threat. This is a promise.”

Marshals, with the aid of AT&T, were able to trace the call and a number of others that day to the judge’s chambers back to a phone that Caporusso had been using since 2003, the court records said.

Cell site data showed that the calls made to the judge’s chambers on Caporusso’s phone appeared to have been placed from the defendant’s home, according to court papers.

When questioned by marshals and Suffolk police Caporusso denied that he had made the calls, and said that while he owns long guns, he had no plans to go to Washington, according to court records.

In the latest round in the legal case involving Flynn, a federal appeals court two weeks ago upheld Sullivan's decision to scrutinize the reasoning behind U.S. Attorney General William Barr's attempt to dismiss the case against the former general, who was briefly the national security adviser for President Donald Trump.

Though Flynn had twice pleaded guilty to lying to FBI agents about his conversations with a top Russian diplomat, Barr said that there was no basis for the agents to begin investigating Flynn.

Barr’s argument followed a campaign by Trump and associates to drop the case against Flynn on the grounds that the prosecution was solely motivated by anti-Trump politics.

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