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Press Release

Cedar Rapids Man Appears in Federal Court on Threat and Damage to Federal Property Charges

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Iowa

DES MOINES, Iowa – On December 8, 2020, John Edward Miller, age 39, of Cedar Rapids, appeared in federal court before United States Northern District of Iowa Magistrate Judge Mark A. Roberts on a Complaint charging him with influencing, impeding or retaliating against a federal official by threatening a United States official, a United States judge, or a federal law enforcement officer; malicious damage to federal property; and interstate communications with the intent to injure, announced United States Attorney Marc Krickbaum.

This matter will be prosecuted by Southern District of Iowa Assistant United States Attorney Melisa Zaehringer, who has been designated as Special Assistant United States Attorney, based on the recusal of the Northern District of Iowa United States Attorney’s Office.

According to the Complaint, Miller is alleged to have sent a threatening message via Facebook to a federal prosecutor and named several other federal employees in the message. Miller is additionally accused of firing a flare gun at the Cedar Rapids United States Courthouse, causing a fire that needed to be extinguished.

The public is reminded that charges contain only accusations and are not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If convicted, the Court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal sentencing statutes and the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines.

Miller’s detention hearing will be held at the Cedar Rapids United States Courthouse on December 11, 2020, at 1 p.m.

This matter is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Explosives and Firearms, United States Marshals Service, and the Cedar Rapids Police Department. The United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa will prosecute this case.


Rachel J. Scherle

Updated December 10, 2020