By Joe Johnson
A woman who is facing federal charges for allegedly threatening to blow up the Athens-Clarke County Democratic Committee Campaign headquarters last month was remanded from state to federal pretrial detention during her initial appearance Thursday before a U.S. Magistrate Court judge in Macon.
Jessica Diane Higginbotham was initially arrested Dec. 4 by Athens/Clarke County police on one count of making terroristic threats, a state charge.
The 35-year-old Elberton woman, who reportedly was a security guard at the Democrat's headquarters on Sunset Drive, was subsequently indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of communicating a bomb threat and making false statements.
The alleged threat was made three days before the Dec. 6 special election to choose a U.S. senator from Georgia.
According to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Georgia. the indictment alleges that Higginbotham made a threat to bomb the Athens-Clarke County Democratic Committee Campaign building on Sunset Drive on Dec. 3 and the next day lied to federal agents about her knowledge of a specific email address and the use of the TextNow communication application on her cellphone.
During the woman’s initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Court Judge Charles Weigle, the government's motion to detain Higginbotham was granted.
Melissa Hodges, spokesperson for the Middle District U.S. Attorney’ Office did not immediately know what the government’s argument was for detaining Higginbotham.
“I don’t see anything yet filed in the public record as to specifically why the Court ordered Ms. Higginbotham federally detained,” she said. “I was not in court and did not hear the specifics as to the judge’s order.”
Hodges said no further proceedings in the case had been scheduled.
If convicted of communicating a bomb threat, Higginbotham faces a maximum sentence of ten years in prison and a $250,000 fine, and if convicted of making false statements, she faces a maximum sentence of five years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.