March 12, 2010 - HOUSTON—A federal jury has found Jeff Henry Williamson, 45, of Jackson, Miss., guilty of sending a threatening communication in interstate commerce, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today. The jury returned its verdict finding Williamson guilty of the sole count of an indictment this afternoon. United States District Judge David Hittner presided over the four-day trial.
During the trial, the jury heard testimony that a series of messages had been left by Williamson on the U.S. Attorney’s Office voicemail system claiming he was being harassed by the government. He said he would shoot up the U.S. Attorney’s Office with a submachine gun if the harassment continued. The FBI traced one of the phone calls to the Houston Public Library downtown and on June 11, 2008, FBI agents encountered Williamson in the library. After admitted to making the phone calls, Williamson was admonished by FBI agents not to threaten to harm individuals in the government.
A few weeks later, on June 27, 2008, Williamson sent an e-mail from the Houston Public Library public access computers to the United States Attorney’s Office in downtown Houston stating in part, “Please advise FBI Director Mueller I will take justice into my hands and blow the front of the J Edger Hoover building off to get everyone’s attention—then the CIA HQ and DOJ.” The e-mail was also sent to the Department of Justice Inspector General and the House Select Intelligence Committee. The e-mail also directed the recipients to Williamson’s political websites that expressed views about the government harassing him.
FBI agents executed a federal arrest warrant on July 30, 2008, and arrested Williamson as he stood outside of FBI Headquarters Building in Washington, D.C. The arrest warrant had issued after the filing of a criminal complaint in the Southern District of Texas charging him with sending threatening communications relating to the June 27th threat. Williamson told agents that he was waiting for FBI Director Mueller. After he was arrested, agents found a piece of paper in his bag with the e-mail address for the House Select Intelligence Committee scribbled on it. The jury heard testimony that the e-mail came from Williamson’s Yahoo.com e-mail account and that similar content was found on Williamson’s political websites. Williamson’s Yahoo.com e-mail account also contained similar political messages about government harassment.
A few months earlier, in February 2008, Williamson had sent a similar message while in Reno, Nev., to the FBI in Washington D.C. The message was sent from the Washoe County Law Library using the FBI’s tip page from one of the library’s public access computers. In that message, Williamson threatened to kill FBI agents. FBI agents traced the tip back to the law library using the library’s IP address. When they arrived at the library they interviewed Williamson, who claimed he was on a “smoke break” during the time in which the tip was sent.
Williamson, who represented himself during trial, unsuccessfully attempted to convince the jury he was being framed by the FBI. The jury returned its guilty verdict after a short period of deliberation.
Williamson faces a sentence of up to five years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine his conviction. Judge Hittner has set sentencing for June 2, 2010. Williamson is in custody.
The investigation leading to the charges was conducted by the FBI. Assistant United States Attorneys Jay Hileman and Ryan D. McConnell tried the case.