Maryland Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Charge for Making Threats Timed to Anti-Violence Demonstration
Two Threats Were Directed at United States Senators
WASHINGTON – Nicholas Bukoski, 19, of Crofton, Md., pled guilty today to a federal charge stemming from a series of threats that he made coinciding with a demonstration against gun violence that took place in March 2018 in Washington, D.C.
The announcement was made by U.S. Attorney Jessie K. Liu, Nancy McNamara, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, Matthew R. Verderosa, Chief of the United States Capitol Police, and Peter Newsham, Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).
Bukoski pled guilty in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to a charge of transmitting threats by interstate commerce. The charge carries a statutory maximum of five years in prison and potential financial penalties. Under federal sentencing guidelines, Bukoski faces an estimated range of 10 to 16 months in prison and a fine of up to $55,000. The Honorable Tanya S. Chutkan scheduled sentencing for Oct. 15, 2018.
According to the government’s evidence, on March 24, 2018, three threatening messages were communicated within 20 minutes from the defendant in Maryland to locations in the District of Columbia. Two were made by Instagram direct message to offices of United States Senators. The third threat was via Bukoski’s cellular telephone to the Metropolitan Police Department’s text tip line. That threat stated, among other things, “My heart is messed up and evil, and part of me wants to see people suffer, goddammit. Anyway, good luck and Godspeed finding my presents. This will be my only message.”
Law enforcement considered the threat to the tip line as directed against the “March for Our Lives,” an event that was taking place in Washington, D.C. and attended by thousands speaking out against school shootings and gun violence. Investigators believed the word “presents” referred to explosive devices. An investigation quickly led to the identification of Bukoski on the day that the threats were made.
This case was investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field Office, the U.S. Capitol Police, and the Metropolitan Police Department. Assistance was provided by the Anne Arundel County, Md. Police Department and the United States Marshals Service. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Brenda J. Johnson of the National Security Section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia.