Convicted Con Man Found Guilty of Plotting to Shred OC Judge With Wood Chipper

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U.S. District Judge Andrew J. Guilford in his chambers in Santa Ana in January. He was the target of a plot to kidnap and torture him. (Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

John Walthall could not accept his punishment when 12 jurors found him guilty of bilking $5.5 million from an elderly couple.

Breaking the decorum of federal court, he openly asserted his innocence and protested his conviction after the jury announced its decision. He did nothing wrong, he said, and contended that the panel of his peers had erred.

U.S. District Judge Andrew J. Guilford was not swayed. To Walthall’s defiant pleas, the judge offered a blunt reply: “The jury has spoken.”

More than a year later, prosecutors say, Walthall hatched a campaign of retribution from behind bars, taking aim at the federal prosecutors and FBI agents whose work put him in a Lompoc prison for a 14-year term.

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