Ohio Man Sentenced for Threatening Federal Judge
|U.S. Attorney’s Office November 15, 2011|
CLEVELAND—Clifton Cousins was sentenced today in the Northern District of Ohio to 188 months in prison for threatening the lives of a federal judge and his family, said Steven M. Dettelbach, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio.
“The integrity and safety of our independent federal judiciary is a cornerstone of our democracy,” U.S. Attorney Dettelbach said. “The events of the past year underscore the need to take threats against our judges seriously. Today’s sentence sends a strong message that we will not tolerate threats against those who serve the court and the public.”
Cousins, 42, aka Abdullah Jihad Al-Malik, is currently incarcerated at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville, Ohio.
He pleaded guilty on May 4, 2011 to eight counts, including two counts each of: mailing extortionate communications; threatening to murder the family of a U.S. judge; threatening to murder a U.S. judge; and mailing a threatening communication to damage or destroy a building.
His sentence will be served after he completes state and federal prison sentences in unrelated cases.
According to court documents, Cousins sent a letter in June 2006 in which threatened to kill a federal judge, the judge’s wife, the judge’s children, and the judge’s dog. The same letter also threatened the destruction of a federal building with an explosive.
The court documents further state that the letter was sent to obtain more favorable imprisonment conditions for Cousins and also to retaliate against the judge for what Cousins perceived to be an unfair prison sentence.
Additionally, according to court documents, Cousins sent another letter to the same judge in October 2009 containing a small plastic bag of white powder, which Cousins claimed was arsenic that would be used to poison the judge. The letter also threatened the judge with a pipe bomb, which the letter stated was placed in a restroom at the courthouse.
This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Justin E. Herdman following an investigation by the FBI and the U.S. Marshals Service.