TAMPA, FLA -- A Florida man accused of coughing on and spitting at police officers while claiming to be infected with the coronavirus was indicted on a federal terrorism charge.

A federal grand jury in Tampa returned an indictment Wednesday charging James Jamal Curry, 31, with perpetrating a biological weapon hoax, according to court records. He had previously been charged by criminal complaint last month. He faces up to 5 years in federal prison if convicted.

Curry's attorney, Samuel Landes, said in an email that prosecutors are stretching a law meant for terrorists to cover a run-of-the-mill police encounter.

"The United States Attorney's position in this case would make each of the millions of COVID-19 patients 'in possession' of a biological weapon," Landes said.

St. Petersburg police officers responded to a domestic violence call involving Curry on March 27, according to court documents. During his arrest, Curry declared that he was infected with COVID-19 and coughed on an officer's arm, police said.

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