A Bergen County man was arrested for threatening a federal judge on Sunday, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.
William Kaetz, 56, faces one count each of making an interstate communication containing a threat to injure a person and of threatening to assault and murder a federal judge after he sent a letter to the unnamed officer of the court that repeatedly called the judge a “traitor” and threatened to release their home address.
“[Judge-I] is a Traitor and that has a death sentence, I would rather use the pen than the sword, but… there will come a time to take down those people that fail to do their job …. and that will be people like the traitor [Judge-I],” Kaetz said in an Oct. 18 email.
The New Jersey Globe has identified the judge in question but is withholding their name over privacy and safety concerns until it is released by the U.S. Attorney’s office.
“I will try my best not to harm the traitor Judge [Judge-I] but like I said, [Judge-I] is a traitor and needs to be delt [sic] with,” Kaetz said.
The Paramus resident sought to contact the judge twice before sending the Oct. 18 email. On Sept. 24, he sent a letter to the judge’s home, prompting questioning from authorities. Kaetz told investigators he wanted the judge to recuse from the case, further expressing anger with delays to his case.
On Sept. 30, he left a voicemail at the judge’s office again expressing anger with court delays and demanding the judge recuse and be removed from the bench.
A few weeks later, he was threatening to release the judge’s home address.
“The traitor Judge [Judge-I] lives at [FULL ADDRESS REDACTED],” Kaetz said in the Oct. 18 email, according to authorities. “Stop by and ask [Judge-I] why [Judge-I] is stonewalling my case. [Judge-I’s] home address will become public knowledge very soon and God knows who has a grievance and what will happen after that.”
The incident comes months after a gunman posing as a mailman attempted to assassinate U.S. District Court Judge Esther Salas, killing the judge’s son and critically wounding her husband.
New Jersey’s state and federal lawmakers have introduced bills that would criminalize the release of judges’ personal information and shield such information from disclosure.
Kaetz’s arrest comes less than two weeks after federal authorities foiled a domestic terrorist plot to kidnap and try for treason Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a favored target of President Donald Trump.
During a Michigan rally on Saturday, Trump demanded Whitmer lift restrictions imposed on the state to blunt the spread of COVID-19 and called on his supporters to “lock them all up.”
“This is exactly the rhetoric that has put me, my family, and other government officials’ lives in danger while we try to save the lives of our fellow Americans,” Whitmer said on Twitter. “It needs to stop.”
Kaetz tweeted five Trump ads around 11 a.m. on Sunday. Previous tweets leveled attacks at the Squad, a group of four progressive first-term congresswomen, railed against COVID-19 restrictions and shared an instructional video on how to arrest a judge or governor.
Collectively, the charges against Kaetz carry a maximum penalty of up to 15 years in prison, with fines of up to $500,000.
He’s scheduled to make an initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Cathy Waldor later Monday.
The FBI Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch Jr. and U.S. Marshal Juan Mattos Jr. led the investigation resulting in charges against Kaetz.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Dean Sovolos of Newark’s Office’s National Security Unit is arguing the case for the government.