A man who spent 28 months in prison for threatening the lives of more than 40 financial regulators testified Monday that a more recent flurry of letters and emails he sent should not be taken seriously as actually threatening the lives of four federal judges.
Vincent McCrudden, 53, of Long Island City, Queens, was arrested last week by FBI agents on charges of sending threats through the mail, attempting to interfere with the work of federal judges and failing to follow the instructions of federal probation officers to stop the threats to judges.
McCrudden, who's been held without bail since his arrest, said at a hearing before U.S. District Judge Denis Hurley at federal court in Central Islip he had no intention of harming anyone.
Before McCrudden spoke, Hurley dropped the probation-officer charge saying it was unclear if probation officers had ordered McCrudden to cease writing letters to judges or only suggested that he not do so.
Under questioning by his attorney John Carman, of Garden City, McCrudden said he was not capable of committing any violence, even when he sent communications with lines such as "the only available option is complete and utter violence. I am waiting for that day to come ... and go hunting."
McCrudden said his admittedly obscenity-laced, angry letters were born out of frustration in, what he considered, his not getting fair hearings on his civil suits or the way he had been treated by the criminal justice system. McCrudden said the tone of the letters was a deliberate attempt to get attention from judges, the press, politicians and good government groups.
At the end of Monday's hearing, Hurley said he had heard what McCrudden said he was attempting to do and there were questions as to whether his actions were permitted speech under the First Amendment.
But Hurley said he wanted legal views from Carman and Eastern District federal prosecutor Christopher Caffarone on two things he has to consider in reaching a decision on McCrudden's guilt or innocence: the effects of McCrudden's words upon the purported victims and how a reasonable third person would interpret McCrudden's language.