The Harvard University student charged with sending bogus bomb threats to get out of taking a final exam was released on a $100,000 unsecured bond by a federal judge in Boston.
Eldo Kim, 20, of Cambridge, Massachusetts, was arrested yesterday on a single bomb-hoax count and had been in federal custody pending today’s initial court appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Judith Dein.
Kim is accused of sending e-mails on Dec. 16 to university police, two school officials and the president of the Harvard Crimson student newspaper warning that bombs had been placed at four campus buildings, sparking their evacuation.
Assistant U.S. Attorney John Capin today asked Dein to release Kim into the custody of his sister and uncle. The judge granted that request, while barring Kim from returning to school without Harvard’s permission.
Kim appeared in court wearing sweatpants with “Harvard” written along one side in crimson letters and a gray T-shirt. He was represented by attorney Ian Gold of the federal public defender’s office.
Gold told Dein that his client has been a U.S. citizen since the fifth grade and has renounced his South Korean citizenship. A representative from the South Korean consulate in Boston who attended the hearing declined to comment on the case.
Making a bomb hoax is punishable by as long as five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Kim was interviewed by the FBI and by a Harvard police officer, Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Thomas Dalton said in a sworn statement.
The student waived his constitutional right to have an attorney present and admitted to writing the threats, according to Dalton.
“According to Kim, he was motivated by a desire to avoid a final exam,” Dalton said.
The bomb threat led to the closing of the Science Center, Sever Hall, Thayer Hall and Emerson Hall, as well as Harvard Yard, the original campus of the 377-year-old school. They were reopened hours later.
“He seems to me to be very remorseful,” Gold said in an interview outside the courthouse. “It’s important to remember we’re dealing with a 20-year-old who was under a great deal of pressure.”
Gold said his client’s mother lives in Korea. His father, who was a professor in Korea, died three years ago this month, the defense lawyer said.
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