CHICAGO (AP) — A Chicago man accused of posting messages on social media that threatened a deadly attack on an abortion clinic has been ordered held in custody.
A federal judge on Tuesday said the conflicting personas of Farhan Sheikh suggest he might be unstable.
A complaint unsealed Monday said Sheikh wrote on his iFunny page last week that he’d “slaughter and murder any doctor, patient, or visitor” he saw at the clinic on Friday, Aug. 23. The filing doesn’t identify the clinic.
Addressing the FBI in the statement, he added he wasn’t joking.
“I am NOT a satirical account,” it said. “I post what I mean, and I WILL carry out what I post.” He also allegedly wrote: “May god forgive me for what I am going to do soon.”
The complaint says Sheikh subscribed to the iFunny account of “ArmyOfChrist,” the purported user name of 18-year-old Justin Olsen, who was charged earlier this month in Boardman with threatening an agent. He allegedly posted support for mass shootings and for any attacks on Planned Parenthood.
Olsen, who was arrested at a home where agents also reported finding guns and ammunition, had been under investigation since February. But prosecutors in the federal judicial district for northern Ohio said they choose to bring him in in the wake of recent mass shootings in Ohio and Texas.
The complaint against Sheikh doesn’t identify the clinic he is said to have threatened, saying only that it was about four miles from Sheikh’s North Side residence.
When agents arrested Sheikh on Friday, he told them he believed they were there because of jokes he posted on iFunny, the complaint says. Olsen similarly told the FBI during his arrest that his postings were jokes, according to filings in his case.
He is charged with transmitting a threat in interstate commerce, which carries a maximum five-year prison sentence.
In seeking Sheikh’s retention, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jordan Matthews said iFunny had actually removed the threat, prompting Sheikh to post it again. Defense attorney Amanda Penabad asked the judge to release Sheikh to his father’s custody with a restriction on social media use.
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