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Police arrest man accused of threatening jury in trial of Pittsburgh synagogue gunman

Death penalty for Tree of Life shooter
Jury recommends death penalty for Pittsburgh synagogue shooter 00:33

A self-proclaimed "reverend" of a white supremacy movement was arrested Thursday for allegedly threatening the jury in the trial of a man who killed 11 congregants at a Pittsburgh synagogue in 2018.

Hardy Carroll Lloyd, 45, was taken into custody without incident on charges of obstruction of the due administration of justice, transmitting threats in interstate and foreign commerce and witness tampering. 

Loyd is accused of writing threatening social media posts and website comments and of sending emails to the jury and witnesses during the trial of Robert Bowers. His arrest comes a week after Bowers was sentenced to death

"Remember, jurors, we WILL be watching and we WILL be taking pictures of ALL cars and people who leave the courthouse," Lloyd allegedly wrote in a May 17 email to news outlets, according to an affidavit. Lloyd insisted it was "100% LEGAL" to photograph and surveil witnesses and members of the jury, the affidavit said.

Lloyd also allegedly backed a campaign to place antisemitic stickers around predominantly Jewish areas of Pittsburgh. The stickers featured phrases such as, "It's okay to be white." One sticker had a swastika on it. 

A sketch of the courtroom during the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting trial. Emily Goff

Some of the posts allegedly made by Lloyd called for people to kill Jews, according to the affidavit. He also allegedly demanded that Bowers be freed — "or else there will be consequences."

"Jury trials are a hallmark of the American justice system and attempts to intimidate witnesses or jurors will be met with a strong response," U.S. Attorney William Ihlenfeld said following Lloyd's arrest. "The use of hateful threats in an effort to undermine a trial is especially troubling."

Bowers opened fire inside Pittsburgh's Tree of Life synagogue on Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018, during Shabbat morning service. He was found guilty in June of all 63 federal charges brought against him in connection with the synagogue massacre.

If he's convicted, Lloyd faces up to 10 years in prison for the obstruction charge, up to five years for the threats charge and up to 20 years in prison for the tampering charge.

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