Crime

Federal office in Miami closed as judge is investigated for making threat

Federal administrative law judge Timothy Maher appeared in court last week after being arrested on charges including aggravated assault with a firearm stemming from an incident involving the mother of his young son.
Federal administrative law judge Timothy Maher appeared in court last week after being arrested on charges including aggravated assault with a firearm stemming from an incident involving the mother of his young son. Miami

A downtown Miami federal office remained closed Wednesday as federal agents investigated whether a  judge who handles disability cases threatened a co-worker, according to a law-enforcement source familiar with the incident.

The suspected threat is believed to have come from Timothy Maher, who was arrested last week and accused of threatening his ex-girlfriend with a rifle at his home in El Portal. The threat was made Tuesday against one of his colleagues at the Social Security Administration office, 333 S. Miami Ave., where Maher normally works reviewing social-security disability claims.

The decision to close the office, according to sources, was made by Federal Protective Services, a branch of U.S. Homeland Security, which provides armed security for U.S. government buildings. FPS did not notify Miami or Miami-Dade police, which usually work in coordination with law enforcement from Homeland Security.

A security guard working at the building along the Miami River said Wednesday that the office remained closed. Other offices in the modern structure along the Miami River remained open.

El Portal police could not be reached Wednesday and Homeland Security had not responded to questions by mid-morning. 

Maher is facing two counts of aggravated assault with a firearm, a child-abuse charge and resisting without violence. He is free on bond although his whereabouts were unknown. The docket in his case shows no listed defense attorney.

The judge had worked at the social-security administration office for about a decade.

Maher, 51, was arrested Aug. 15 after confronting his ex-girlfriend, who had come to pick up their child, with a holstered weapon and threatening her, police said. According to his arrest report, the judge repeatedly pointed a flashlight at her and then pointed a long rifle at her through the back window of her vehicle as she drove away with their son. She called 911.

When police arrived, the report said, he refused to come outside and El Portal police were forced to set up a perimeter. Eventually the officer in charge reached the judge on his cellphone and talked him into coming outside. When an officer grabbed him, Maher tried to break free, the report says. He was eventually taken into custody.

In court last week, Maher told the judge his former girlfriend fabricated the entire incident and that he at no point threatened her or their child. The judge ordered Maher to stay clear of his son. Maher was released from jail after posting a $13,000 bond.

The judge ordered that Maher’s firearms be seized. A few days later when El Portal police and federal agents came to get the weapons, he again refused to come outside and had to be talked into cooperating, according to a law enforcement sources.

Miami Herald staff writers Jay Weaver and David Ovalle contributed to this report.

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