Billings man admits obstructing justice by witness retaliation
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Montana
GREAT FALLS — A Billings man accused of harassing and threatening witnesses in Browning, on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation, in an ongoing federal investigation admitted to obstruction charges today, U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich said.
Jesse Ray Blackman, 41, pleaded guilty to two counts of obstructing justice by retaliating against a witness as charged in a superseding indictment. Blackman faces a maximum of 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release.
Chief U.S. District Judge Brian M. Morris presided. The court will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. The court set sentencing for Jan. 31, 2024. Blackman was detained pending further proceedings.
In court documents, the government alleged that beginning in October 2022, Blackman maintained an ongoing campaign of harassment against his ex-girlfriend, identified as Jane Doe, and her boyfriend, identified as John Doe, in Browning. Using the Messenger feature of Facebook, Blackman sent messages from multiple Facebook accounts to Jane Doe, threatening to harm both her and John Doe. Blackman also called Jane Doe’s place of employment multiple times a day and threatened her. In December 2022, Jane Doe obtained a restraining order against Blackman from the Blackfeet Tribal Court. The order enjoined the parties from having verbal and physical contact, but the threats continued. In March 2023, an FBI agent interviewed Blackman about his conduct. Blackman admitted to using Facebook to send messages to Jane Doe and that the messages could be viewed as threats. The agent advised Blackman that Jane Doe and John Doe were witnesses in an ongoing federal investigation, and that threats against them as witnesses could be criminal. The agents advised Blackman to cease all contact with them. Blackman contacted both Jane Doe and John Doe in April with the intent to retaliate against them for information they gave to law enforcement relating to the threats. In a phone call to Jane Doe on April 4, Blackman said, “I can’t believe what you did to me! You’re going to pay for it bitch!”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Kalah A. Paisley is prosecuting the case. The FBI and Blackfeet Law Enforcement Services, with assistance from the Yellowstone County Sheriff’s Office, conducted the investigation.
Clair Johnson Howard
Public Affairs Officer
Updated September 18, 2023
Press Release Number: 23-349