EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Boston and Beyond

December 19, 2013

Lawyer: Accused Harvard student was under pressure

BOSTON (AP) — A Harvard student accused of making a bomb threat to get out of a final exam was under a great deal of pressure and seems remorseful, his lawyer said Wednesday after his client was freed on bail.

Eldo Kim, 20, was released on $100,000 bond into the custody of his sister, who lives in Massachusetts, and an uncle from North Carolina. Attorneys did not say where he will stay.

The U.S. attorney’s office in Boston alleges Kim sent hoax emails Monday saying shrapnel bombs would go off soon in two of four buildings on Harvard’s Cambridge, Mass., campus. The emails came minutes before he was to take a final exam in one of the buildings.

The buildings were shut down for hours before investigators determined there were no explosives.

Federal public defender Ian Gold says Kim was dealing with finals and the third anniversary of his father’s death, which is this month.

“It’s finals time at Harvard,” Gold said. “In one way, we’re looking at the post-9/11 equivalent of pulling a fire alarm. Certainly I’m not saying the government response was unjustified, but it’s important to keep in mind we’re dealing with a 20-year-old man who was under a great deal of pressure.”

Kim, wearing a gray T-shirt and sweatpants, appeared somber as he stood before the judge.

Under the conditions of his release, he cannot enter Harvard’s campus without prior approval of both the school and the federal court.

Harvard said it was saddened by the allegations but would have no further comment on the investigation.

Alexander Ryjik, a junior from Alexandria, Va., was about to take his Politics of American Education final in Emerson Hall when alarms went off and he had to leave. He recognized Kim from the class but did not know him personally. He said Wednesday he was not surprised to hear that authorities believe a student is responsible for the hoax.

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