Still, Whiting said that a variety of reasons could motivate the U.S. Attorney’s Office to negotiate a lesser penalty.
“I would expect the office to take into account all the different factors—the effect on the community, the resources that were diverted as a result of the event—but also all the particular circumstances of the defendant: his motivations, whatever they can learn about his psychological state at the time, and whatever circumstances he found himself in,” Whiting said.
Kim’s alleged threats led to a lockdown of the four campus buildings mentioned in the threat and restriction of access to Harvard Yard. University, local, state, and federal law enforcement personnel searched for five hours before ultimately determining the threat was not credible.
The University has previously said it will not comment on the criminal proceedings. According to Kim’s former roommate at Harvard, Daniel P. Leichus ’16, Kim returned to campus within the first week of his arrest to claim his belongings. In December, a federal judge mandated that Kim remain in Massachusetts pending trial.
—Staff writer Daniel R. Levine can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @danielrlevine.
This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
CORRECTION: April 9, 2014
An earlier version of this article incorrectly identified the legal expert who suggested that the U.S. Attorney’s office may be trying to settle the case without a trial. In fact, it was Alex Whiting, a professor of the practice of criminal prosecution at Harvard Law School.