FORT LAUDERDALE (CBS4) – A woman charged with making threats that caused 300 South Florida schools to be locked down and a congressman-elect’s top aide to step down appeared in federal court in Fort Lauderdale Tuesday.
During her initial court appearance, federal prosecutors opposed bail for 48-year-old Ellisa Martinez of New Port Richey. They said Martinez is a danger to the community and is likely to flee before trial. A judge set a Monday bail hearing. Neither Martinez nor her court-appointed attorney would comment.
Martinez was flown to Florida on Monday following her arrest last month in Southern California.
Prosecutors say Martinez sent a threatening e-mail Nov. 10 to WFTL 850 AM conservative radio talk show host Joyce Kaufman, who was tapped to be U.S. Rep.-elect Allen West’s chief of staff.
The e-mail said the writer liked that Kaufman had encouraged people to “exercise our second amendment rights” and that “something big” would happen at a government building in Broward County, maybe a school. Martinez called the Pompano Beach station later that morning and claimed that her husband, “Bill Johnson”, was going to go to a school in Pembroke Pines and start shooting, according to federal authorities who traced the call. The FBI never found any evidence that “Bill Johnson” existed.
Authorities responded by placing all 300 Broward County schools, with about 275,000 students, on lockdown for several hours.
Kaufman stepped down as West’s chief of staff a day after the lockdown, saying she wanted to avoid any repercussions against him.
In the e-mail that federal authorities said they tracked to Martinez’s computer, the writer expressed a need to “take our country back from the illegal aliens, Jews, Muslims, and Illuminati who are running the show.” The writer also claimed to be “planning something big around a government building here in Broward County, maybe a post office, maybe even a school, I’m going to walk in and teach all the government hacks working there what the 2nd amendment is all about,” according to the complaint filed Nov. 12.
Martinez is charged with Interstate Communication of a Threat to injure another.