Criminal Justice

New Jersey man gets prison time for posting federal judge's home address on Twitter and Facebook

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A New Jersey man has been sentenced to 16 months in prison for posting online the home address of a federal judge he deemed to be moving too slowly on his case.

William Kaetz, 56, of Paramus, New Jersey, was sentenced after pleading guilty to one count of making restricted information publicly available, according to a Department of Justice Aug. 2 press release.

Reuters, Law360 and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette have coverage.

As part of the plea deal, prosecutors dropped charges of threatening to assault and kill a federal judge, using interstate communications to make a threat, and illegally possessing a firearm, according to Law360.

U.S. District Judge J. Nicholas Ranjan of the Western District of Pennsylvania sentenced Kaetz on Monday. In addition to serving prison term, Kaetz will have to spend three years on supervised release and pay a fine of $5,000.

Reuters identified the judge targeted by Kaetz as a New Jersey federal judge whose courtroom is next to that of U.S. District Judge Esther Salas of the District of New Jersey. A disgruntled litigant shot and killed Salas’ son and wounded her husband at their New Jersey home in July 2020.

According to the initial criminal complaint, Kaetz had mailed a communication to the judge’s home in September 2020 that sought an expedited hearing in his civil case. When investigators contacted him, Kaetz said the judge was taking too long to rule, and he said he obtained the judge’s home address from a paid internet service.

The next month, Kaetz allegedly sent an email to the judge’s personal email account and to the U.S. Marshals Service that said the judge “is a traitor and that has a death sentence,” according to the criminal information. The judge’s “home address will become public knowledge very soon and God knows who has a grievance and what will happen after that,” he wrote.

That same day, Kaetz posted the judge’s address on two of his social media accounts, according to a prior opinion in the case.

On Twitter, Kaetz said the “traitor” judge is stonewalling his case. Let the judge “feel your anger,” he said. On Facebook, Kaetz said the judge “has been avoiding and stonewalling [my] case. It is of national importance.” Kaetz asked readers to send the judge a message on how they feel.

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Kaetz has three pending civil cases. One case filed against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former President Barack Obama claims that “known enemies” of the United States have wrongly been allowed to be in official office roles.

Douglas Sughrue, a lawyer for Kaetz, told Reuters in an emailed statement that Kaetz plans to close his social media accounts.

“With today’s action, Mr. Kaetz accepted responsibility for his actions, apologized to the victim, and asked for forgiveness for the harm he caused the victim,” Sughrue said in the statement.

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