A Chicago man on probation for possessing a stolen vehicle and on electronic monitoring for a pending felony gun case has been charged with a new felony after allegedly making threats against one of his judges during a Zoom court hearing.
Kenneth Williams, 20, was ordered held without bail by Cook County Judge Mary Marubio on Sunday. She said the courts might need to bring in an out-of-county judge to handle Williams’ new case.
Williams appeared before Judge Lauren Edidin via Zoom on September 27 for a routine hearing in his stolen motor vehicle case, according to court records. He was also on electronic monitoring for the pending gun charge, which a different judge is handling.
During the hearing, someone with the username “Mars” wrote in the Zoom chat, “You’re going to die today, bitch. Hope you have protection with you while leaving court.”
Mars then logged out, prosecutors said.
Someone then logged in with the same screen name as another Zoom participant and chatted another threat: “You will be cut today, judge. You’re a filthy rat. Disgusted by your behavior. This will not be tolerated. The countdown has already begun. In due time, you’re ours.”
That user logged off after posting the threat, officials said.
Then, prosecutors said someone logged in using the same name as yet another court call participant. They posted in the chat, “No one can help you. You brought this on yourself.” The user then logged out.
Prosecutors said investigators tracked the threats to Williams using technological evidence, including an IP address.
Williams allegedly admitted to posting the threats because he was “trying to see what the judge would do,” a prosecutor said on Sunday.
He apologized to investigators and said he would not do it again, according to the prosecutor.
His public defender said he is a ward of the state who lives with foster parents. The attorney said he expects to get his high school diploma in two weeks.
Judge Marubio held Williams without bail for violating probation and bail bond until the judges handling those cases could reconsider his bail conditions. She set bail for the new charge, threatening a public official, at $150,000. Williams must post 10% of that amount to get out of jail on electronic monitoring—if the no bail holds are released.
“The nature of the offense itself is an attempt to undermine the administration of justice,” Marubio said. She reminded Williams that the allegations occurred “in open court against a judge who was on the bench at the time presiding over your case.”