News Tip

Essex County Man Pleads Guilty to Attempted Murder of Former Federal Informant

Kalil Bryant Faces Severe Penalties for Retaliating Against a Witness and Other Related Charges.

In a significant development in New Jersey's criminal justice scene, an Essex County man has admitted to attempting to murder a former federal informant, as announced by U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger on May 23, 2023.

Kalil Bryant, a 40-year-old resident of East Orange, New Jersey, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge John Michael Vazquez in Newark federal court to two counts of an indictment. These charges include possession of ammunition by a convicted felon and retaliating against a witness, victim, or informant.

Previously, on February 17, 2023, following an eight-day trial, Bryant was convicted on the remaining two counts of the indictment - transmitting threats in interstate commerce and retaliating against a witness, victim, or informant.

According to the court records, witness testimonies, and trial evidence, the victim had previously cooperated with the FBI, providing information about federal crimes committed by one of Bryant’s long-term associates. As a form of retaliation, Bryant shot the victim in the abdomen on August 24, 2019, after pointing a loaded firearm at him and labeling him a "rat." Fortunately, the victim survived following medical treatment.

The case files further revealed that on September 18, 2019, Bryant sent threatening text messages to an associate of the victim, warning of the victim's imminent death for being a "rat," accompanied by a photograph of a rat and a gun. Subsequent messages ominously instructed the recipient to "Prepare to bury Him soon" and "Get your black dress ready."

The charges against Bryant carry severe penalties. Possession of ammunition by a convicted felon carries a maximum potential sentence of 10 years in prison. Retaliating against a witness, victim, or informant can lead to a 30-year sentence, while transmitting threats in interstate commerce can result in a five-year sentence. Each count also carries a maximum fine of $250,000. Bryant's sentencing is scheduled for October 10, 2023.

In his statement, U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited the FBI special agents, led by Special Agent in Charge James E. Dennehy in Newark, for their pivotal role in the investigation. He also expressed gratitude to the East Orange Police Department, Jersey City Police Department, Metuchen Police Department, and the U.S. Marshals for their assistance in the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jamel Semper and Shontae D. Gray represent the government in this case.

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