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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of New York

Friday, February 25, 2022

New York City Man Convicted Of Threatening To Kill U.S. Senator Joe Manchin And Fox News Hosts Laura Ingraham And Greg Gutfeld

Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that RICKEY JOHNSON was convicted yesterday of threatening a federal official and making interstate threats, following a one-week jury trial before the Honorable Lewis A. Kaplan. JOHNSON threatened to kill United States Senator Joe Manchin and Fox News television hosts Greg Gutfeld and Laura Ingraham in direct messages and publicly posted videos on Instagram.

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: “Rather than express his political differences constructively, Rickey Johnson escalated his discord by instilling fear. Johnson's attempts to scare and stifle a U.S. Senator and two Fox News hosts were federal crimes for which he has now been convicted by a New York jury.”

According to court documents and the evidence at trial:

On January 30, 2021, JOHNSON sent direct private messages to Mr. Gutfeld that threatened, “you will be killed.” On February 3, 2021, JOHNSON posted public videos in which he threatened to kill Senator Manchin, Mr. Gutfeld, and Ms. Ingraham. Among other things, JOHNSON declared that Senator Manchin was “dead” and would be “executed”; told Mr. Gutfeld that he was “going to take [his] life”; and said that he would “kill” Ms. Ingraham with his “bare hands.”

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JOHNSON, 48, of New York, New York, was convicted of two counts of transmitting threatening interstate communications, which each carry a maximum sentence of five years in prison, and one count of threatening a federal official, which carries a maximum sentence of ten years in prison. JOHNSON was also acquitted of one count of threatening a federal official. The maximum potential penalties are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.

JOHNSON is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Kaplan on May 25, 2022.

Mr. Williams praised the outstanding investigative work of the New York City Police Department (“NYPD”), the NYPD’s Intelligence Bureau, Leads Investigation Unit, and the NYPD’s 23rd Precinct Field Intelligence Team.

The case is being handled by the Office’s National Security and International Narcotics Unit. Assistant United States Attorneys Patrick R. Moroney, Kyle A. Wirshba, and Andrew J. DeFilippis are in charge of the prosecution.

Nicholas Biase (212) 637-2600
Press Release Number: 
Updated February 25, 2022