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State Prisoner Convicted of Delivering a Threatening Communication to a Federal Judge

SAN FRANCISCO—A federal jury in San Diego found Eric Anthony Lopez guilty of delivering a threatening communication to United States District Court Judge Irma E. Gonzalez of the Southern District of California, United States Attorney Melinda Haag announced. Because the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California was recused from the case, the case was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California.

Lopez, who is serving a 25-year-to-life sentence in California prison after being convicted of first-degree murder in 2003, was convicted after a two-day jury trial in San Diego last week of a violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 876(c). Lopez sent a letter to Judge Gonzalez, threatening to “bring death” to her and “eliminate” her by introducing the judge to “Your Grim Reaper ‘Old Bacill[u]s Anthracis’ aka Anthrax.”

The sentencing of Lopez is scheduled for May 14, 2012, before U.S. District Court Judge Larry Burns in San Diego. The maximum statutory penalties for a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 876(c) are: 10 years in prison; three years of supervised release; and a fine of $250,000. However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.

Richard Cheng and Christina McCall are the Assistant U.S. Attorneys who are prosecuting the case. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Further Information:

Case #: CR 10-5155 LAB

A copy of this press release may be found on the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s website at www.usdoj.gov/usao/can.

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