A woman who reportedly worked as a security guard at a local Democratic Party headquarters in Athens, Georgia, was arrested and is facing the possibility of up to 15 years in prison after threatening to bomb the building and then lying to investigators about her actions.
The defendant was identified by the Justice Department as Jessica Diane Higginbotham aka Jessica Harriod, and she is now facing charges including one count of communicating a bomb threat and one count of making false statements. The charge directly covering the threat comes with the steeper sentence, carrying up to 10 years in jail if found guilty of the offense. Both charges also come with the possibility of hundreds of thousands of dollars in financial penalties. It appears Higginbotham is also facing a state case. The Justice Department noted she was in state custody as of Thursday, and a report from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution said she was charged with one state count of making terroristic threats.
Higginbotham made her threat against the Athens-Clarke County Democratic Committee Campaign HQ days before the runoff election in the state’s recently concluded Senate contest. (Athens and Clarke County are a combined jurisdiction where Democrats often lead in election results, as they did in the eventual runoff totals.) She was questioned the very next day by federal investigators, to whom she lied “about her knowledge of a specific email address and the use of the TextNow communication application on her Samsung cellphone, both of which belong to her,” the department said. The U.S. Capitol Police was among the agencies involved in the investigation.
The responsibilities of that department extend beyond protecting the Capitol complex itself to areas like protecting members of Congress outside the nation’s capital. Towards that end, the agency has recently established field offices in California and Florida, which are at the top of the list in the numbers of residents making violent threats, and the department chief has expressed an interest in extending officers’ reach to other states. Officers with that department and the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department were recently honored with the Congressional Gold Medal for their actions protecting the Capitol during last year’s Trump-incited riot, in connection to which arrests continue. Trump remains unconcerned and has spoken in support of releasing all those detained in connection to the riot and eventually issuing presidential pardons if he ever regains the White House.
Image: Brett Davis/ Creative Commons