Judge orders Patrick Dai to stay in custody in Cornell anti-Semitic threats case
SYRACUSE, N.Y. — The Cornell student from Pittsford accused of posting threats calling for the murder of Jewish men, women and children has been ordered to stay in custody. Patrick Dai was detained by a federal judge in Syracuse on Thursday.
when questioned for seven hours last week, Dai told the FBI that he was posing as a Hamas soldier when he posted threats to kill Jewish men, women and children. He said he thought that would expose the evil of Hamas. His lawyer recounted it in federal court in Syracuse on Thursday when she was arguing that Dai should be released.
Dai is accused of posting several threats calling for the murder of Jewish people from his home on Pittsford and back on the Cornell campus.
On Thursday, the federal judge ruled this was a crime of violence, Dai is a serious flight risk, and no conditions would protect him, his family and the community.
His lawyer, the federal public defender, said Dai was affected by the terror attack on Israel by Hamas on Oct. 7 and the coverage in the media, and decided to post threats as a way to expose their horrors. One post was signed “Hamas soldier.”
The lawyer said, “Patrick posed as Hamas to show the Cornell community and the world how bad they are.”
The judge replied, “How can you, reading those threats, come to that conclusion?”
The lawyer said, “It was not Patrick threatening these people. He is not a person who is anti-Semitic.”
Later, the assistant U.S. Attorney said, “If you try to alert the community of the evils of Hamas, you don’t do it by threatening to kill Jews.”
News10NBC learned that just prior to his arrest, Dai attempted suicide twice and told the FBI investigators he considered trying to run his car off the road when his mother was driving him back to school.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office said the risk of suicide constitutes a risk of flight.
Dai’s lawyer told the court that Dai has undiagnosed mental illness. when ordering him detained, the judge said, “Mr. Dai, I’m glad you didn’t kill yourself and others. I’m sad for you. You matter. But so do all other people threatened by these posts.”
She went on to say, “You are worth saving. Your life is worth saving. The lives of all Jewish people are worth saving.”
When the hearing was over, Dai and his mother came together, and he broke down, crying. She told him in Chinese that she loves him and supports him.