Hardy Lloyd, a 45-year-old man from West Virginia, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to obstructing the federal hate crime trial of Robert Bowers, the perpetrator of the 2018 Pittsburgh synagogue shooting. Lloyd admitted to sending threatening messages to jurors and witnesses involved in the case. Bowers was convicted on 63 counts in August.
Lloyd, who identified himself as a “reverend” of a white supremacist group, relayed hostile social media posts, comments, and emails throughout the trial. He referred to himself as a “lone wolf hero” and criticized the jurors who convicted Bowers as being “guilty of anti-White racism,” according to the Justice Department.
Prosecutors revealed that Lloyd posted messages on a Russian social media site, stating, “Free Robert Bowers Now!! … We need to support anyone who kills Jews.” Additionally, Lloyd’s white supremacist organization’s website contained an “enemies page” that listed personal information, including home addresses, workplaces, family photos, and contact details of individuals. He threatened to publish the sealed information of the jurors online to “keep the trial honest.”
As part of his plea agreement, Lloyd acknowledged intentionally targeting jurors and government witnesses based on their perceived or actual Jewish religion. The Justice Department stated that Lloyd’s guilty plea demonstrates that anyone attempting to obstruct a federal trial by threatening or intimidating jurors or witnesses will face severe consequences.
Attorney General Merrick Garland emphasized the significance of Lloyd’s guilty plea, stating that it underscores the Justice Department’s commitment to pursuing those who obstruct hate crime trials. FBI Director Christopher Wray added that the agency will not tolerate the intimidation of citizens participating in the criminal justice system.
If accepted by the judge, Lloyd’s plea deal will result in a prison sentence of approximately six-and-a-half years (78 months), according to the Justice Department.