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Jonathan Lee Riches is a former federal prisoner (inmate #40948-018) known for the many lawsuits he has filed in various United States district courts. Riches was incarcerated at Federal Medical Center, Lexington, Kentucky, for wire fraud under the terms of a plea bargain. His release date was April 30, 2012. He was arrested for violating his federal probation in December 2012, when he left the Eastern District of the state of Pennsylvania without permission. He allegedly drove to Connecticut and impersonated the uncle of Adam Lanza, the shooter in the Sandy Hook Elementary School incident.
Since January 8, 2006, he has filed over 2600 lawsuits in federal district courts across the country, some of which have received considerable press attention. Among the more famous defendants of his lawsuits are Dallas area lawyer Treyson Brooks, New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick, former President of the United States George W. Bush, Martha Stewart, NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon, former Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick, entrepreneur Steve Jobs, celebrity blogger Perez Hilton, Somali pirates, and pop star Britney Spears. He also sued the late Benazir Bhutto, Pervez Musharraf, and the Immigration and Naturalization Service on November 7, 2007, to prevent him from being deported to Pakistan upon his release from prison in March 2012 so that he will not be tortured.
On April 9, 2008, Riches filed a request for a temporary restraining order in a US District Court against Grand Theft Auto publisher Take-Two, developer Rockstar Games, FCI Williamsburg, and Grand Theft Auto itself, claiming that the defendants "put me in prison." The inmate stated, "Defendants contributed to Plaintiff committing identity theft. Defendant's games show sex, drugs and violence which offends me." Riches continued, "Defendants put me in prison. I face imminent danger from violent inmates who played Grand Theft Auto who will knock me out and take my gold Jesus cross."
Some of Riches' defendants are not even persons subject to suit. These include "Adolf Hitler's National Socialist Party" and the "13 tribes of Israel." One lawsuit, which includes George Bush, also includes another 783 defendants that cover 57 pages. They include Plato, Nostradamus, Che Guevara, James Hoffa, "Various Buddhist Monks," all survivors of the Holocaust, the Lincoln Memorial, the Eiffel Tower, the USS Cole, the book Mein Kampf, the Garden of Eden, the Roman Empire, the Dark Ages, the Appalachian Trail, Plymouth Rock, the Holy Grail, Nordic gods, the dwarf planet Pluto, and the entire Three Mile Island.
A number of Riches's lawsuits have been dismissed as being "frivolous, malicious" or for failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. Willis Hunt, the U.S. District Court Judge who dismissed Riches' suit against Vick as "farcical," opined that his lawsuits were clearly self-promotional. As per 28 U.S. Code § 1915(g), he is barred from proceeding in forma pauperis.
Currently he is the subject of much media scrutiny and satire. Someone has made a Twitter account using @jonathanlriches on Twitter and others. In August 2010 he filed suit against Julian Assange of Wikileaks.
In January 2011, Riches filed a suit seeking a temporary restraining order to prevent Jared Loughner from being transferred to Federal Medical Center Lexington, alleging that Loughner may wind up as his cellmate and could attempt to murder him for being a moderate Democrat.