SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Cornell student Patrick Dai ’24 waived his right to an immediate detention hearing before Judge Thérèse Wiley Dancks in the Northern District of New York at his arraignment hearing on Wednesday, Nov. 1.
He is federally charged with posting threats to kill or injure another using interstate communications in connection with the series of threats against Jewish students that was posted online on Saturday, Oct. 28 and Sunday, Oct. 29.
If convicted, Dai will face up to five years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000 and a term of supervised release of up to three years.
Dai, who is from Pittsford, New York — which is outside Rochester — is a student in the class of 2024 and is a computer science major in the College of Engineering.
After his arrest, Dai was detained at the Broome County jail overnight awaiting the hearing.
Dai will continue to be held in Broome County. Dai is currently represented by Assistant Federal Public Defender Gabrielle DiBella.
On Wednesday, the courtroom in the Northern District of New York was packed with reporters and Dai’s mother and family friend, who appeared calm in court. Dai kept his head down for the majority of the hearing.
Dai’s arraignment comes four days after a multitude of posts to Greekrank — an online forum dedicated to discussing Greek life — that threatened harm against Jewish students and a mass shooting at the kosher dining hall and Center for Jewish Living, 104 West. The threats calling for the mass murder and rape of Jewish Cornellians — whom the posts referred to as “pigs” and “animals” — resulted in immediate condemnation by University officials and New York State, with Gov. Kathy Hochul (D-N.Y.) visiting the CJL the morning after the threats were posted.
Hochul then announced the New York State Police had brought a person of interest into custody on the afternoon of Tuesday, Oct. 31. Later that evening — shortly before 6 p.m. — the FBI, New York State Police, CUPD, and Ithaca Police Department entered an apartment at 317 Eddy St. It is currently unknown what, if anything was seized or if any arrests were made during the raid. The United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of New York released Dai’s name in a press release shortly after the raid occurred.
According to court documentation, Dai admitted to making the posts on Greekrank in an audio and video recorded interview at the Cornell Police Department with FBI Special Agent Michael Renn.
Dai has been charged with Interstate Communications under Title 18 § 875 (c).
“Whoever transmits in interstate or foreign commerce any communication containing any threat to kidnap any person or any threat to injure the person of another, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both,” the clause states.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Brown laid out the maximum penalty for the charges, which are as follows — five years in prison, a fine of $250,000 and supervised release after three years.
Dai will next appear in court on Wednesday, Nov. 15 at 2 p.m. for a preliminary hearing, where he will be evaluated in probable cause related to the charges.
Angela Bunay ’24 and Jonathan Mong ’25 contributed reporting.
Update, Nov. 1, 3:26 p.m.: This article has been updated to include further details.