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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, July 22, 2019

Columbus Man Pleads Guilty to Threatening Oklahoma Sheriff, Local FBI Agent

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Joseph Michael Bragg, 40, of Columbus pleaded guilty to charges connected with at least a dozen threats he sent to a sheriff in Oklahoma during a two-month period in 2018, and threatening a Columbus FBI agent who came to Bragg’s residence to interview him.

Benjamin C. Glassman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, and Todd A. Wickerham, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Cincinnati Division, announced the pleas entered today before U.S. District Judge Michael Watson.

According to court documents, Bragg transmitted through agency websites between June and July 2018 at least a dozen communications which contained threats to violently injure Rogers County, Oklahoma Sheriff Scott Walton and numerous other individuals in the state. On July 20, 2018, at the request of the FBI office in Oklahoma, an FBI agent in Columbus went to Bragg’s residence. Bragg came to the door, shouted profanities at the agent and told the agent “you have no authority here” before going back inside. Bragg came back to the door threatening to shoot and decapitate the agent. The agent drew his weapon in defense. Authorities came back with a search warrant and later arrested Bragg, who has been in custody since.

Bragg pleaded guilty to one count of transmitting a threat in interstate commerce and one count of influencing a federal official by threat. The plea agreement includes an agreed sentence of at least 12 months imprisonment, which would include time served, and three years of supervised release to include mental health treatment. Judge Watson will review the plea agreement and determine a date for sentencing.

U.S. Attorney Glassman commended the investigation of this case by the agencies participating in the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force, and Assistant United States Attorney Jessica W. Knight, who is representing the United States.

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Topic(s): 
Cyber Crime
Contact: 
Jennifer.thornton@usdoj.gov
Updated July 22, 2019