July 17, 2019 / 10:00 AM / 4 months ago

Man who threatened to bomb Harvard ceremony for black students faces sentencing

BOSTON, July 17 (Reuters) - An Arizona man faces sentencing on Wednesday after admitting he made online threats to bomb Harvard University and shoot students at its first commencement ceremony for African-Americans, saying he wanted to “end their pro-black agenda.”

Federal prosecutors in Boston plan to seek an 18-month prison term for Nicholas Zuckerman, 25, who pleaded guilty in February to charges related to comments he posted on Harvard’s Instagram account in May 2017.

Prosecutors said he made the online comments in response to news reports that the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Ivy League school would hold a special commencement ceremony on May 23, 2017, to celebrate the accomplishments of black graduates.

“If the blacks only ceremony happens, then I encourage violence and death at it. I’m thinking two automatics with extendo clips,” Zuckerman wrote in an Instagram post 10 days before the ceremony, according to prosecutors.

That same day, prosecutors said, Zuckerman under the username “russian_goalkeeper94” posted another online comment, which read: “#bombharvard and end their pro-black agenda.”

The ceremony went forward as planned with a heightened law enforcement presence. The FBI eventually tracked Zuckerman down in Arizona, and in an interview he admitted making the threats, prosecutors said.

They said Zuckerman, who is white, picked his victims specifically because they were black and during an FBI interview also discussed the “difficulty” of being a Republican after U.S. President Donald Trump’s election.

He was arrested in June 2018 and pleaded guilty in April to two counts of transmitting a threat to injure another person. (Reporting by Nate Raymond in Boston; editing by Scott Malone and Tom Brown)

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