COLUMBIA, SC (WCSC) - COLUMBIA, SC (WCSC) - A Virginia man was found guilty late Wednesday of sending threatening emails to the US District Cort in South Carolina and trying to influence a federal judge presiding over a civil case in which he was a plaintiff.
During the three-day trial, evidence showed that in 2002, Stephen H. Rosenberg, 61, of Alexandria, Va., filed a civil suit in South Carolina federal court alleging he had been unlawfully arrested and incarcerated. The case was dismissed in 2003 by a federal judge.
However, in 2007, osenberg demanded that the judge reinstate the lawsuit, and a hearing on the demand was held in May 2007. When Rosenberg did not receive an immediate ruling on his request following the hearing, he began sending frequent emails and letters to the court.
In late 2008, these messages began to incorporate statements such as "the only good white judge is a dead white judge," and that the only way he could "get justice" was "to start killing off white judges."
Rosenberg's e-mail demands that the court rule in his favor increased in 2008.
In 2009, Rosenberg insisted that the judge rule before his father was to be buried, on April 6, 2009. That same day, Rosenberg sent the same judge the email that led to his criminal prosecution. He again stated that the "only good white judge was a dead white judge," and emphasized, "No telling how I will react after my father is buried."
With its verdict, the jury concluded that this statement, when taken in context of the series of Rosenberg's earlier emails, constituted a threat to kill white judges in South Carolina. The jury likewise concluded that the threatening comments were made by Rosenberg to corruptly influence the judge to rule in his favor.
The maximum penalty Rosenberg can receive is 15 years in federal prison and a fine of $500,000.
United States District Judge Cameron McGowan Currie presided over the trial, and has scheduled sentencing for June 16, 2010.