is the target of an alleged scheme by two brothers; police
raid on their apartment finds an arsenal of weapons sp.
IN A BIZARRE plot that may have been inspired by the Oklahoma City bombing, police authorities say two brothers schemed to kidnap former Nashville Tennessean publisher John Seigenthaler and a Nashville talk radio host.
Nashville police took the threat seriously enough to put a guard on Seigenthaler and his house ? and authorities expressed more alarm when a court mix-up allowed the two brothers to be released on just $500 each.
Neither of the brothers ? Sean Patrick Bottoms, 35, and Brian Scott Bottoms, 33 ? appeared at a scheduled hearing April 27, and authorities did not immediately know their whereabouts.
Police were alerted to the Seigenthaler kidnap plot by a third Bottoms brother, 39-year-old Kevin.
After a quarrel with his younger brothers on the night of April 24, a deeply frightened Kevin Bottoms fled the duplex he shared with them and flagged down a passing police officer.
When police raided the apartment, they found a veritable arsenal, including these items:
? Three pipe bombs
? Black powder and other bomb-making materials, including fuses, liquid-triggering switches and instructional texts
? Two shotguns, a stolen handgun and ammunition
? Camouflage fatigues and other military-style clothing
? Military C rations
Kevin Bottoms told police his brothers bragged of being capable of building a better bomb than the one that destroyed the federal building in Oklahoma City ? and getting away with the crime.
They also discussed kidnapping Seigenthaler and WLAC-AM talk show host Les Jamison, Kevin Bottoms said.
"My first reaction, honest to God, was to laugh out loud and say, 'Poor Les, getting mixed up with me,' " Seigenthaler said in a telephone interview from the Freedom Forum First Amendment Center in Nashville, where he is the chairman.
Seigenthaler said he also thought initially that the plot was directed at his son, who is also named John and is a Nashville television news anchor.
"But the police said, No, they had pretty good information it was me," Seigenthaler added.
Seigenthaler has been working with extra security at the First Amendment Center and has police guarding his home. Both suspects were initially charged only with the misdemeanor offense of possessing explosive devices. Police, apparently, were wary of mentioning the more serious charges ? and, therefore, publicly identifying their informer as Kevin Bottoms. At a Night Court hearing, bond was set at just $500, a typical amount for a misdemeanor.
True to his role as a First Amendment booster, Seigenthaler said the publicity the case has received is his best protection.
"I honest to God don't think there is the slightest thing to worry about," he said.
Unfortunately, this sort of threat is not new to Seigenthaler. In fact, it is the third time in five years police have had to warn him of impending danger.
About four years ago, an emotionally distraught man armed with a pistol was taken off a Nashville-bound bus he apparently had boarded with the intention of violently confronting Seigenthaler, who was then the publisher of the Tennessean. Seigenthaler is chairman emeritus of the newspaper.
More recently, Seigenthaler was told by police that a man was stalking him at a hotel.
"So there have been three incidents in the last five years," Seigenthaler said, "and I must say that, just because it has happened before, it doesn't make it any less disconcerting."
?(So there have been three incidents in the last five years, and I must say that just because it has happened before, it doesn't make it any less disconcerting." ) [Caption]
?(John Seigenthaler) [Photo]
By: Mark Fitzgerald Former Nashville Tennessean publisher John Seigenthaler