Man accused of threatening to harm local judge makes court appearance

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WACO, Texas (KWTX) A man who threatened to harm a federal magistrate judge if he was forced to come to court was in a courtroom Thursday for a hearing on a threat to a federal official charge.

A hearing that normally would take place in the U.S. Magistrate's Court was bumped to the U.S. District Court on Thursday because it was the magistrate who was the target of the threat.

U.S. District Judge Alan D. Albright on Thursday entered a personal data sheet for Steven Vance Rodgers, accepted his waiver of reading the indictment and accepted a plea agreement from his counsel into the court's record, although details of the agreement were not made public.

An affidavit prepared in the case says on the afternoon of May 24, 2017, Rodgers telephoned a legal assistant in the Waco U.S. Attorney's Office in Waco and then a special assistant U.S. Attorney in the Fort Hood Office and said during the conversations that: "if he had to show up for his court date on Aug. 3, 2018 that he would "beat the xxxx out of the prosecutor and the judge."

Further, the affidavit reflects a conversation between Rodgers and federal officers during which Rodgers says: "What do I need to do for y'all to arrest me?

"What can I do for protection so that I don't do anything else, because you're probably going to get a federal prosecutor and or judge that's going to get his ass whipped."

The original indictment naming Rodgers reads: "May 24, 2018 in McLennan County, Texas, in the Western District of Texas, defendant, did threaten, or did attempt to threaten, to assault a United States Magistrate Judge."

Rodgers was arrested May 29, and after an initial hearing, U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman ordered him detained and set a hearing date for his arraignment.

Then on June 1, Pitman ordered Rodgers released after he posted a $25,000 bond, case records show.