Angela Bunay/Sun Senior Writer

Patrick Dai ’24 accepted a plea deal at the Northern District of New York courthouse on Wednesday, April 10.

April 10, 2024

Patrick Dai ’24 Pleads Guilty in Antisemitic Threat Case, Awaits Sentencing

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​​SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Patrick Dai ’24, the 21-year-old who wrote a series of antisemitic threats on the Cornell section of the anonymous discussion forum Greekrank in October, accepted a plea deal on the felony charge of posting threats to kill or injure another using interstate communications

Appearing on Wednesday, April 10 at the Northern District of New York courthouse, Dai waived his right to an indictment and accepted a plea offer from the prosecution, pleading guilty to one felony count for his October threats.

While the charge holds a maximum of five years in prison or a $250,000 fine, the federal prosecutors recommended anywhere from 15 to 21 months following the plea. Federal prosecutors are advocating for maximizing Dai’s sentencing, citing a hate crime motivation.

Dai admitted to sending messages on Greekrank with the knowledge that they would be perceived as threats and acting in a reckless regard while knowing the posts would be perceived as “true threats.”

Dai’s attorney Lisa Peebles stated to the court that his motivation to commit this crime was driven by a desire to “expose Hamas as evil” and not to make genuine threats. Peebles also noted that the apology Dai posted to Greekrank shortly before his arrest indicated his remorse. The final sentencing will be determined by the judge at Dai’s forthcoming sentencing hearing on Aug. 12.

Dai, who has been held in Broome County Jail since Oct. 31, faced prevalent mental health issues that contributed to his October threats, according to Peebles. Dai’s posts threatened a mass shooting at the Center for Jewish Living and called for others to commit violence against Jewish students.

Attending the hearing were Dai’s mother, Bing Liu, and two unidentified individuals. Dai’s father continues to work as a professor in China and was not present at the hearing. Dai’s mother did not make eye contact with Dai, who avoided the gaze of the courtroom. 

In a press conference after the hearing, Peebles discussed Dai’s mental state and provided updates to his experience at the Broome County Jail following previous claims of inaccessibility from his mother and a complaint that he was not provided with prescription glasses. Peebles affirmed that his mother has been in contact with Dai and that he has his glasses. 

It was revealed that Dai was formally diagnosed with autism, a claim that was previously questioned by the court. Peebles alleged he has the mental state of a five- to 10-year-old, claiming that while he can perform well academically, he struggles with daily tasks like doing laundry. Peebles also revealed that Dai was prescribed Zoloft while in custody to deal with what Pebbles claimed is a case of depression caused by his not understanding his condition.

Peebles cited the time Dai has already served in jail, which would be almost a year at the time of his sentencing, as a factor for the Judge to consider in making the final determination.

Dai will return to court on Aug. 12, where he will receive his final sentencing.