Plea deal possible for man facing weapons charges after alleged hate threats

By Jerry Lynott - [email protected]
John "Jake" Hasay -

WILKES-BARRE — A Luzerne County man who federal authorities said promised to carry out a hate crime might work out a plea deal on charges he illegally possessed a machine gun.

Attorneys asked that the deadline for formally filing charges be lifted in the case of John “Jake” Hasay.

“The parties are in negotiations in an effort to resolve this matter. If so, there would be a resolution without the need for a preliminary hearing or for an indictment,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Phillip J. Caraballo in a document filed Monday.

Caraballo added that attorneys for Hasay supported the motion for continuance of preliminary hearing scheduled for 10 a.m. Wednesday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph Saporito Jr. Hasay is also scheduled for an 11 a.m. hearing the same day on his motion for release from detention.

Federal authorities had 30 days from Hasay’s Aug. 23 arrest and detention to file formal charges other than the criminal complaint and sealed documents alleging weapons violations. The Speedy Trial Act allows for exclusions that stop the clock from ticking toward the deadline.

Hasay, 22, a Navy veteran and son of senior District Judge John Hasay of Shickshinny, underwent in-patient psychiatric treatment and was returned to the Lackawanna County Prison on Sept. 24.

Caraballo argued against Hasay’s release for out-patient treatment, saying that among the written promise to commit a hate crime, he also had “ready access to illegally modified firearms and black-market firearm component dealers, and reoccurring advancements of Nazi and white supremacist-related ideologies.”

Hasay’s attorney Al Flora Jr. of Wilkes-Barre described him as an immature kid who made comments on social media that were brought to the attention of the FBI.

Flora said Hasay was not a racist. He said Hasay bought an attachment and converted a semi-automatic pistol into an automatic weapon.

Federal authorities filed charges of possession of a machine gun and possession of an unregistered firearm against Hasay.

The Montgomery, Ala.-based Southern Poverty Law Center publicized the charges against Hasay on its website last month. The Center said it is “dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry and to seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of our society.”

John "Jake" Hasay "Jake" Hasay
Hasay, 22, accused of hate crime threats

By Jerry Lynott

[email protected]

Reach Jerry Lynott at 570-991-6120 or on Twitter @TLJerryLynott.

Reach Jerry Lynott at 570-991-6120 or on Twitter @TLJerryLynott.