Woman Charged With Threat Against Judge, Emanuel
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UPDATED: Oct. 15, 2010 10:30 PM
CHICAGO (CBS) - A Gold Coast neighborhood woman was ordered held on $500,000 bond Friday for allegedly sending an email threatening to kill a Cook County judge and mayoral candidate Rahm Emanuel.
Prabhjot Uppal, 35, of the 100 block of East Delaware Place, was charged late Thursday afternoon with intimidation of a public official, according to the Cook County Sheriff’s office. Bond was set at $500,000 Friday during a hearing before Judge Donald Panarese.
Uppal, a former medical resident at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, sent an email to the White House on Oct. 4, threatening to kill nine people, including Judge Larry Axelrood, and eight private citizens including Emanuel, Cook County Sheriff’s office spokesman Steve Patterson said.
Because none of those threatened were federal employees, the U.S. Secret Service referred the matter to the sheriff’s office, which handles judicial security, he said.
Patterson said the threats involved the judge, attorneys and others involved in two court cases in which Uppal was charged with phone harassment of former co-workers in 2007 and 2009, Patterson said.
“In the email she threatened to blow their brains out,” Patterson said.
In the 2009 case, Axelrood sentenced Uppal to two years’ probation and also recommended a psychiatric evaluation, he said, which may have led to the threats.
Her license to practice internal medicine expired in June 2006, according to the state Division of Professional Regulation database.
Patterson said no weapons were found in the Gold Coast apartment and no actual threats were made except the email to the White House.
“We are not sure why it was sent to the White House or why Rahm Emanuel was mentioned, except she believed there was a systemic plot against her,” Patterson said. “We do not believe there was ever a credible threat to anyone.”
The suspect’s brother, Gobind Uppal, said his sister has denied threatening anyone and that “she’s never had any contact with anyone like that.”
He said it is possible that somebody posing as his sister may be making these threats.
“She’s a very enthusiastic person, hard working, very intelligent,” the brother said. “She’s an academic person, an intellectual.”
Gobind Uppal says his sister has been depressed since her earlier conviction but that otherwise has no emotional problems that he knows of.
Patterson said Uppal was being booked into the Cook County Jail on Friday afternoon, and would undergo medical and psychiatric evaluation. She could be placed into the Cermak Hospital facility in the jail complex.
Uppal is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on Oct. 21 in West Felony Court (Br. 44), according to Cook County State’s Attorney’s office spokeswoman Tandra Simonton.
“You’re always concerned when someone says they’re going to murder you,” Judge Axelrood said. “The Sheriff’s Department was very good at keeping me safe.”
CBS 2’s Mike Parker and Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.