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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, January 21, 2022

Webster Man Sentenced for Mailing Threatening Communications to a West Virginia Judge

BOSTON – A Webster man was sentenced yesterday in federal court in Worcester for mailing threatening communications to a West Virginia District Court Judge.  

Keith Lessard, 41, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Timothy S. Hillman to time served (approximately four months) and one year of supervised release. The government recommended a sentence of two years in prison, the maximum sentence permitted by statute. On Sept. 15, 2021, Lessard pleaded guilty to one count of mailing threatening communications.

Lessard was charged and subsequently indicted by a federal grand jury in August 2020 in the Southern District of West Virginia. The case was transferred to the District of Massachusetts in July 2021 for plea and sentencing proceedings.

From August 2019 through June 2020, Lessard engaged in a series of communications with a West Virginia District Court Judge, and others, using email and postal mail. Prior to becoming a judge, the victim had previously served as an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney in a case against Lessard in 2010. The communications sent by Lessard were part of a scheme to extort money from the victim by threatening injury to her reputation by falsely claiming that she engaged in illegal prosecutorial misconduct when she prosecuted him.

United States Attorney Rachael S. Rollins; Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Division; and Ketty Larco-Ward, Inspector in Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, made the announcement. Assistant U.S. Attorney Danial E. Bennett of Rollins’ Worcester Branch Office prosecuted the case.

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Updated January 21, 2022