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Federal authorities on Tuesday arrested a man who allegedly threatened to kill an Eastern District of New York judge and bomb the courthouse in Brooklyn. In several anonymous letters and telephone calls beginning late last month, 19-year-old Wazir Khan of Queens said he would kill U.S. District Judge Raymond Dearie for putting his brother in jail, authorities alleged. The letters said Dearie would be killed by the end of the month, “just like Atlanta,” a reference to the recent shooting death of a state court judge by a man on trial for rape. Khan was seen crying in the courtroom Tuesday before he was arraigned around noon before Magistrate Judge Cheryl L. Pollak, who ordered him held at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn. There was no evidence that any of Khan’s relatives had been sentenced to prison by Dearie. But Khan’s mother, Bibi Asgar, pleaded guilty to credit card fraud before Dearie on Monday. She allegedly defrauded 10 or more victims out of more than $200,000 and faces between 5 and 6 years in prison. Dearie recused himself from Asgar’s case Tuesday. Khan’s attorney, Todd D. Greenberg of Addabbo & Greenberg, who also represents Asgar, said Khan denied the allegations and had no motive to harm the judge. Khan’s brother, he said, is just 2 years old. Dearie had treated Asgar fairly, Greenberg said, holding her under house arrest rather than in prison. Greenberg said he knew that the judge had recently received threats, but was “shocked” to learn about the allegations against Khan Tuesday morning. Authorities alleged that Khan also mailed a letter that included a white powder and threatened a “massacre” against judges in the courthouse if they did not dismiss all cases “between March 30 and December 25.” Khan said he already had smuggled a gun inside the building and had placed a bomb on the sixth floor, where Dearie’s courtroom is located, according to an affidavit from Elizabeth Rosato, an FBI agent investigating the case. One of the letters also was addressed to Judge “Westine,” a possible reference to Eastern District Judge Jack B. Weinstein. “Threats to members of the bench will never be tolerated,” Eastern District U.S. Attorney Roslynn R. Mauskopf said in a statement. Mauskopf’s office said Khan could receive 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. During Khan’s arraignment, Greenberg asked for a change of venue due to the nature of the charges. “We all are very aware of the appearance of conflicts,” Greenberg told Pollak. “There may be witnesses even in this courtroom.” Greenberg admitted that he had a conflict of his own, since he represented Khan’s mother. Pollak expressed concern about the situation but said Greenberg could represent Khan during the arraignment. She requested briefs on the application to change venue. Robert Nardoza, a spokesman for Mauskopf, said the investigation into the threats is “ongoing.” He would not comment on whether Asgar is a target. In a telephone interview Tuesday evening, Greenberg said Asgar appeared before Pollak Tuesday afternoon, after Dearie had recused himself. The government, Greenberg said, motioned to have Asgar detained, though it did not mention the charges against her son. He said Pollak denied the request and continued Asgar’s house arrest. The U.S. Attorney’s Office could not be reached for comment on the latest developments. Dearie and court personnel have received threats since March 31. A metal detector was recently placed outside his courtroom for additional protection. Following the murder of the Atlanta judge and the murder of the husband and mother of a federal judge in Chicago, security has been the subject of much concern at courthouses throughout the country. In the Eastern District of New York, complaints have arisen over the reassignment of U.S. marshals to Manhattan for Southern District of New York Judges Michael B. Mukasey and Kevin Thomas Duffy, who have faced terrorist threats. Last month, The Associated Press reported that Eastern District Chief Judge Edward R. Korman wrote to Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales about the reassignment of deputy marshals, which the judge reportedly said had created a “dangerous and untenable” situation at the courthouse.

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