Threats put man in jail for 6 months

The Baltimore Sun

For his prison sentence, Joshua Haggerty blames his "big mouth."

The 25-year-old Greenport, N.Y., man was sentenced to six months behind bars yesterday in U.S. District Court in Baltimore for an unusual charge - threatening to assault a family member of a law enforcement officer who was working on a drug case involving one of Haggerty's friends.

"My big mouth has gotten me in trouble my whole life," Haggerty told Judge William D. Quarles Jr. after apologizing to his parents - but not the federal agent - for his behavior.

Prosecutors say Haggerty's outburst came during a telephone conversation Jan. 29 between an agent for the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and Haggerty's friend, 24-year-old Amy McDonald.

During the call, Special Agent David Gorrell told McDonald - who was in New York at the time - that she needed to appear in court in Baltimore on drug charges. Court records show that the case against McDonald, who has been charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine, is pending.

During the phone call, court documents show that Haggerty started shouting and cursing in the background, both at Gorrell and about a confidential informant who was working with federal authorities.

Later that day, the informant - his confidentiality apparently breached - called Gorrell to say that he had received a voice mail message from Haggerty. In the message, Haggerty made several threats, including an expletive-laced reference to the parents of Ben Wright, another federal firearms agent working on the case.

Yesterday in court, Haggerty's attorney, Alan R. L. Bussard, told the judge that there was no evidence that his client intended to carry out his threat.

"This was a volatile mix of drugs and impulsive behavior," said Bussard, who described Haggerty as a drug addict.

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