Westchester County District Attorney Anthony A. Scarpino, Jr. announced that Timothy Goetze of White Plains was found guilty of three counts of Aggravated Harassment in the Second Degree, class A misdemeanors, for threats made against Greenburgh Town Supervisor Paul Feiner and his family in 2017.
Goetze was found guilty Thursday following a bench trial before Judge Jo Ann Friia in White Plains City Court. The court sentenced Goetze to a one-year conditional discharge with 75 hours community service and orders of protection for Feiner, his wife and his daughter.
DA Scarpino noted, “This verdict against Mr. Goetze is an important outcome which illustrates how we seek justice whenever there is a threat to a public figure or any residents of Westchester. Threatening messages will always be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Let anyone who might make such threats know we will go after them. We commend Greenburgh Police on their investigation and maintaining the safety of the Town. We hope the Feiner family can now rest easier.”
In Aug. 2017, Greenburgh Police investigated three threatening e-mails sent anonymously to Greenburgh Town Supervisor Paul Feiner. The e-mails were prompted by a controversy regarding a confederate monument at a private cemetery. The content of the three e-mails was identical, but each contained a different subject line: “Human Rights Education;” “Letter to the Ugly Dumb Jew;” and “Letter to the Parasite.” Among other things, the writer used profanities and directed numerous anti-Semitic slurs to Mr. Feiner. The final sentence bore this threat: “You better run and hide you stupid f--king jew (sic). We are coming for you and your family,” signed by “Anti-Zionist.” Although the e-mails did not have the defendant’s name, an investigation led to Timothy Goetze as the sender.
In court, the defendant’s sole defense was on First Amendment/free speech grounds. The court ruled against that theory, stating that the e-mails were not mainly political statements; rather the content was largely a personal attack on Supervisor Feiner and his family and constituted a “true threat.”
The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys Shameika Mathurin of the White Plains Branch and Laura Forbes of the Investigations Division of the DA’s Office.