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New Yorker denies guilt in Paladino bomb threat

An unemployed New York City man on disability has pleaded not guilty to charges that he called in a bomb threat to the local headquarters of Republican gubernatorial candidate Carl P. Paladino.

Miles J. Fisher, 63, appeared in federal court in Buffalo on Wednesday after pleading not guilty in New York City last week.

Fisher declined to comment on the felony charges against him and at one point questioned a reporter's and a photographer's interest in his case.

"Why are you taking my picture?" he asked a Buffalo News photographer while entering the federal courthouse downtown. "I don't want to be in the newspaper."

During his appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge H. Kenneth Schroeder Jr., Fisher said he was an unemployed pastor who receives Social Security and veterans disability benefits. He was represented by Kimberly A. Schechter, a federal public defender.

Fisher is accused of calling Paladino's campaign headquarters in Ellicott Square on April 13 and, according to court papers, claiming he was a member of a black militant group and threatening to "bomb all of you."

The phone call led to the evacuation of about 700 people while police looked for a bomb. None was found.

The government, represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert C. Moscati, says Fisher acted after reading a newspaper article about Paladino's involvement in forwarding pornographic and racist e-mails.

"Fisher admitted he was angry after reading the article and when making the call," court papers state. "Fisher also admitted to making 'stupid remarks' during the call, but did not recall making a bomb threat."

Fisher was arrested earlier this month in New York City by investigators of the Joint Terrorism Task Force of Western New York. If convicted, he could face up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

e-mail: pfairbanks@buffnews.com

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