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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Massachusetts

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Arizona Man Pleads Guilty to Threatening Harvard Black Commencement Attendees in 2017

Defendant posted internet threats to shoot attendees and bomb Harvard University

BOSTON – An Arizona man pleaded guilty today in connection with posting threats to bomb Harvard and shoot attendees at the Black Commencement event held on May 2017. 

Nicholas Zuckerman, 24, pleaded guilty to two counts of transmitting in interstate and foreign commerce a threat to injure the person of another. U.S. District Court Judge Indira Talwani scheduled sentencing for May 23, 2019. In June 2018, Zuckerman was arrested and charged.

On or about May 13, 2017, Zuckerman commented on a post published to Harvard University’s Instagram account, saying: “If the blacks only ceremony happens, then I encourage violence and death at it.  I’m thinking two automatics with extendo clips.  Just so no n***** gets away.”  It is further alleged that on that same date, Zuckerman posted a comment to another Harvard Instagram post, saying: “#bombharvard and end their pro-black agenda.” Several minutes later, Zuckerman commented “#bombharvard” on other users’ posts approximately 11 times over a span of four minutes. 

A concerned citizen who saw the posts reported them to the Harvard University Police, who ultimately referred the case to federal authorities.

The charge of transmitting in interstate and foreign commerce a threat to injure the person of another of provides for a sentence of no greater than five years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000.  Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling, Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division, and Harvard University Chief of Police Francis D. Riley made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Anne Paruti and Scott Garland of Lelling’s Civil Rights Enforcement Team are prosecuting the case.


National Security
Updated February 28, 2019