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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Pennsylvania

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, February 28, 2020

Maryland Man Sentenced to 32 Months in Prison for Attempting to Interfere in Civil Lawsuit Between Bill Cosby Accuser and Former Montgomery County District Attorney

PHILADELPHIA – United States Attorney William M. McSwain announced that Joseph Johnson, Jr., 49, of Fort Washington, Maryland, was sentenced to 32 months’ imprisonment and three years’ supervised release by United States District Court Judge Harvey Bartle III for aggravated identify theft and making false statements in a federal court filing, stemming from his attempt to interfere in a civil lawsuit between Andrea Constand and former Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce Castor.

The defendant was convicted after trial in November 2019 for stealing the identity of Constand’s lawyer and using her identity to make a false filing in federal court in the civil case. In January 2016, Johnson sent harassing emails Constand’s lawyer threatening to expose Constand’s home address and that of one of her family members because Johnson believed her allegations against Bill Cosby to be false.

Then, on February 1, 2016, the defendant filed a false document in the civil suit. In order to make the filing appear legitimate, Johnson forged the signature of Constand’s counsel to make the filing appear to have been submitted as part of the litigation. United States District Court Judge Eduardo Robreno, before whom the case was pending, struck the document from the civil case docket after learning of the fraud perpetrated by the defendant.

“This trial conviction and subsequent sentence highlights our Office’s continued vigilance to ensure the integrity of our federal courts,” said U.S. Attorney McSwain. “The role of attorneys in the justice system is of paramount importance. Attempting to impersonate one -- as the defendant did here -- is an affront to our collective understanding of justice and is worthy of serious punishment.”

“While the nature of this identity theft may seem more unusual than most, it’s no less consequential,” said Tara A. McMahon, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division. “Joseph Johnson filed a false legal document under a real lawyer’s name. Fraudulent interference in federal court cases poses a clear threat to the nation’s justice system. Mr. Johnson now will be held to account for his actions.”

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Linwood C. Wright, Jr.

Topic(s): 
Identity Theft
Contact: 
UNITED STATES ATTORNEY’S OFFICE EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA Suite 1250, 615 Chestnut Street Philadelphia, PA 19106 JENNIFER CRANDALL Media Contact 215-861-8300 If you have not done so already, follow @USAO_EDPA and @USAttyMcSwain on Twitter to get the most up-to-date information about big cases and community news.
Updated February 28, 2020