By Joe Johnson
An Elberton woman who worked as a security guard at a political campaign office in Athens has pleaded guilty to threatening to “blow all the Democrats up” during the leadup to the Georgia’s U.S. senatorial runoff election in 2022.
Jessica Diane Higginbotham, 35, pleaded guilty Tuesday in Macon federal court to one count of communicating a bomb, according Peter D, Leary, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia.
“"The bomb threat was leveled by an employee for a political organization days before a federal election in Georgia; this incident was a targeted effort to disturb the peace and disrupt the democratic process," Leary said in a news release. "The immediate response and seamless collaboration by all levels of law enforcement safeguarded the community and helped bring the defendant to justice."
Higginbotham faces up to 10 years in prison when she is sentenced in September.
According to Leary, Higginbotham made the threat on Dec. 3, 2022, one day before U.S senators Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock were scheduled to visit Athens for their campaigns.
At the time, Higginbotham was a contractor for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee who worked security at the party’s campaign office on Sunset Drive in Athens.
An investigation began on Dec. 3, 2022, after an employee at the office received a threatening text message:
“Hello, I am writing this message to you to let you know that I am coming by either tonight or in the morning to set a bomb up. So I can blow all the Democrats up,” the message read. “I have other people going to other offices also. If I can’t stop you by breaking in and destroying the property, then I will blow every one up. So be ready to be blown up. This is going to either happen tonight or in the morning. Hope you like being on the wrong team.”
The day after Higginbotham sent the text, an FBI task force located her in a coffee shop in Athens. She vomited when she saw the agents approaching her, then tried to deny that she had sent the threatening text, Leary’s office said. Later, a search warrant executed on Higginbotham’s phone linked her device to the email account used to send the bomb threat.
The case was investigated by the FBI, the U.S. Capitol Police, the Athens-Clarke County Police Department and the Elbert County Sheriff's Office.