Lawyers for JCC threat suspect ask judge to bar references to Charlottesville rally

Local News

James Reardon, who's accused of threatening the local JCC, attended the 2017 Unite The Right in Charlottesville, Va., where a woman was run over and killed

Police arrested a man in New Middletown Saturday that they said made a perceived threat toward a local Jewish Community Center.

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Lawyers for a New Middletown man accused of threatening the Jewish Community Center of Youngstown are asking a federal judge to bar any references to their client attending the Unite The Right rally in 2017.

The motion is the second filed in the U.S. Northern District Court of Ohio on behalf of James Reardon, 20, who is charged with possession of a firearm during a crime and transferring a threatening communication.

Attorneys also asked in a motion filed Monday that U.S. Judge Patricia A. Gaughan also bar prosecutors from mentioning that their client owns guns other than the gun used in the threat.

Reardon has been in custody since an August 17 search warrant was served at his home after authorities learned about a video he posted online in July, in which they say he threatened the local JCC.

The video has screams and sirens as background noise and shows Reardon holding a gun, investigators say. They say the caption identifies the man holding the gun as “local white nationalist Seamus O’Rearedon.”

Seamus is a nod to Reardon’s Irish heritage, authorities say.

Reardon also attended the 2017 Unite The Right in Charlottesville, Va., where a woman was run over and killed. Organizers of the rally headed to Charlottesville to protest the removal of a statue honoring former Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

At the rally, Reardon also gave an interview to the National Geographic Channel.

Attorneys Ross Smith and Edward Czopur are asking Judge Gaughan to bar any references to the rally. They said the rally was two years prior to the conduct Reardon is accused of taking part in and the video in which Reardon is accused of issuing the threat was not seen by anyone until August.

The motion states that the government wants to use references to the rally to portray their client in a bad light to jurors.

“The government has focused its argument on the idea that Mr. Reardon’s mere participation in the rally somehow demonstrates his intent to threaten someone two years after the fact,” the motion says.

The motion also said Reardon has never been accused of or charged with a violent crime.

Prosecutors have yet to file a response to either motion.

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