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Cornell student detained after threats to Jewish community

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  • Staff Report 

Patrick Dai, a Cornell University junior, will remain incarcerated pending further court proceedings due to charges of making interstate threats against Jewish students. Dai, who faced a federal judge in Syracuse while dressed in an orange jumpsuit and shackled, is accused of posting anti-Semitic comments online, with prosecutors citing a potential public danger and risk of flight.

During his court appearance, Dai, represented by public defender Gabrielle Dibella, chose not to seek a detention hearing, which delays any discussions on bail. His choice allows him to stay in jail without a plea, as federal regulations prohibit pleas on such complaints until an indictment is made. Dai’s mother and a family friend were present in court but refrained from commenting on the case.

The allegations against Dai stem from a series of violent and anti-Semitic posts made on “Greekrank,” an online forum for college Greek life. The posts, made under pseudonyms, specifically mentioned a mass shooting and a bombing at Jewish facilities on Cornell’s campus. Authorities traced the IP addresses of these posts back to locations associated with Dai, who reportedly admitted to authorship upon questioning by the FBI.

Finger Lakes Partners (Billboard)

With a preliminary hearing scheduled for November 15, the case against Dai hinges on the legal interpretation of targeting specific individuals or groups, according to defense expert Peter Pullano. Dai is charged under a statute that carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for transmitting threats to injure persons across state lines.

Meanwhile, Cornell has cancelled classes on Friday and is calling the day a ‘Community Day’ to “reflect on how we can nature the kind of caring, mutually supportive community that we all value,” according to the Cornell Sun.