Harvard Bomb Hoax Suspect Free on Bail

Harvard University student Eldo Kim, who was arrested on charges of e-mailing a bogus bomb threat on Monday to dodge a final exam, was released on Wednesday after posting US$100,000 bail.

If he is found guilty, Kim faces up to five years in prison or a maximum $250,000 fine.

Kim was born in Seoul and moved to the U.S. in 2004 when he was in fifth grade. He eventually became a U.S. citizen.

He was arrested a day after his alleged crime and appeared in handcuffs before a Massachusetts court on Wednesday. He told the judge that he e-mailed the fake bomb threat to dodge final exams.

Kim was appointed a state attorney since he did not choose his own lawyer to represent him. Federal public defender Ian Gold said Kim was "under a great deal of pressure" dealing with finals and the third anniversary of his father's death, which is this month. Gold added that Kim regrets his actions.

Eldo Kim walks to a waiting taxi after appearing in federal court in Boston on Wednesday. /AP-Newsis Eldo Kim walks to a waiting taxi after appearing in federal court in Boston on Wednesday. /AP-Newsis

The case is being handled by federal prosecutors rather than Massachusetts state prosecutors, attesting to the gravity of the offense, the Boston Herald reported.

U.S. authorities stepped up investigating bomb threats after the Boston Marathon terror attacks last April. Prosecutors said they confiscated the computer Kim used to send his bomb threat.

Tamar Birckhead of the University of North Carolina said federal investigations involve "a lot more personnel" than state investigations, raising the possibility of a "tough sentence." Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz, who has handled major cases for around 50 years including the O. J. Simpson trial, said the only way to save Kim would be to convince the judge and jury that the crime was the result of mental illness.

Others speculate that some sort of plea bargain may be reached since Kim has admitted all of charges.

englishnews@chosun.com / Dec. 20, 2013 09:19 KST