Frank James

Court documents in New Jersey reveal that the alleged Brooklyn subway shooter, Frank James, was convicted for making terroristic threats in New Jersey in the 1990s.

Vice News uncovered the documents just as the NYPD and Mayor Eric Adams were announcing that James had been arrested.

The counts James faced in New Jersey in 1996 were threatening to “kill or seriously injure” an unnamed party, “with the purpose of terrorizing them,” the report explained. He was found not guilty on the second count, which came from the accusation that he made threats leading to the "evacuation of a building."

A terroristic threat doesn't mean a threat of actual terrorism as it is known today. In the 1990s it meant threatening someone with the purpose of terrorizing them.

"He was sentenced to one year of probation in 1997 for the previous conviction," said Vice. "A judge in Essex County, New Jersey gave him that light sentence on the basis that he had no prior criminal history, had previously led a law-abiding life, and that the specific circumstances of the incident (which are unclear from the court documents) led him to engage in the criminal activity at that time. Based on his character, the judge concluded he was unlikely to commit another similar offense, and believed he would respond well to probation, according to the documents."

The FBI also interviewed James in 2019, but he was cleared by law enforcement, Newsweek reported Tuesday.

"They identified this person somehow as a potential threat. They opened the case, interviewed him, and determined that he wasn't a threat, and he slipped through the cracks. That's probably the best way to describe it," explained cybersecurity researcher Jeremiah Fowler.

James has a multi-year history of posting violent comments and thoughts online, particularly on his YouTube page.

"James' posts date back to 2016. He has used slurs, denigrated women and made racist comments — including against Black people," NBC News reported Tuesday. "He documented his journey from the Midwest to Philadelphia in March, often talking to the camera as he was behind the wheel."

In the video posted Monday, James said that he wanted to kill people but didn't want to go to jail. Last month a video showed him talking about having post-traumatic stress disorder. The Daily Mail captured another video from March 20, in which James said he was leaving Wisconsin and "will never be back again alive to that motherf*cker."

In Aug. 2020 James posted a photo of Kenosha shooter Kyle Rittenhouse to his Facebook page. The words on it say "And a child shall lead them."

Read the report on the New Jersey case at Vice News.

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