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Man pleads guilty to role in Harvard extortion plot that included showing up on campus with a bag full of bottle rockets and Roman candles

Giordani carrying explosives and wires onto Havard Science Center plaza

Webcam captured Giordani carrying explosives and wires onto Havard Science Center plaza.

A New Hampshire man who said he was answering a Craigslist ad to deliver items to a man's son at Harvard University pleaded guilty today to a federal charge that he knew he was involved in something illegal but failed to alert authorities.

In return for his guilty plea, the US Attorney's office dropped a charge of extortion against William Giordani, 55, of Manchester, NH, and will recommend a sentence of three years of probation at Giordani's sentencing, scheduled for April 25. The judge in the case is free to disregard the recommendation and sentence him up to three years in federal prison.

Giordani's plea is an admission that he was doing the bidding of another man - still at large - to try to extort money from Harvard by threatening to blow up parts of the campus last April.

Giordani answered a Boston Craigslist ad posted on April 11, allegedly from a man named Nguyen Mihn, with a New Jersey phone number, offering $300 to somebody who could buy and deliver "some item" to his eldest son, a Harvard student, according to an affidavit by a Harvard University police officer who worked on the case

Acting on that man's requests, Giordani bought fireworks in New Hampshire and then, on April 13, several items, including a sturdy tool bag, a safe and wires at the South Bay Home Depot, all for delivery to Harvard.

Starting shortly before 2:30 p.m. on April 13, Harvard police got a series of seven phone calls, all listing the same New Jersey number as the ad, and using a robotic voice to declare that three bombs had been planted around the Harvard campus and giving instructions for how to contact an alleged ring member. The messages also said Harvard should prepare to pay "a large bitcoin transaction" once it received further instructions.

A Harvard Webcam captured Giordani walking onto the Harvard Science Center plaza:

The individual walks to the center of the plaza and sits down on a bench and places the red and black tool bag on the bench beside him.

The individual then appears to be looking at something in his hands, consistent with someone looking or texting on a mobile phone, for several minutes. He stands up, leaves the bag in the plaza, and walks toward the left-edge of the video. He again appears to be looking at something in his hands before disappearing out of view of the camera. He reappears briefly standing at a distance from the bag, and then walks out of view of the camera again. The individual reappears and sits down next to the red and black tool bag on the bench again appearing to look at something in his hands. At approximately 14:19 the individual stands up and walks way from the red and black tool bag and appears to take a phone call. He walks in between the two food trucks parked on the plaza. He briefly reappears behind one of the food trucks before leaving the plaza.

Giordani agreed to plead guilty to a federal charge of "misprison of a felony," which means he knew a felony was being committed but did not report it.

PDF icon Complete plea agreement724.12 KB


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This is the first time that I can remember of a bomb threat in the Boston area actually reporting something that resembles a bomb and not just a hoax.

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