City

Former Philly Bar Owner Michael Naessens Charged With Threatening Judges and Others

He's been extradited from Las Vegas, and the Philly D.A.'s office alleges that he framed another person for the crimes.


Michael Naessens arrested

Left: Former Philadelphia bar owner Michael Naessens in his Philadelphia Police Department mugshot: Right: Eulogy Belgian Tavern, the popular bar that Naessens owned in Old City for more than 15 years. (Photo via Google Maps)

At one time, Michael Naessens was known as one of Philadelphia’s go-to guys for better beers, having presided over Old City’s Eulogy Belgian Tavern for more than 15 years. But these days, Naessens finds himself a defendant in a criminal case involving threats against two Philly judges, among others.

In January, Naessens, 54, was picked up by police in Las Vegas, where he has lived off and on over the years, on an arrest warrant originating here. And now he’s been extradited to the city, where he was arraigned in court on Thursday morning.

According to the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office, Naeesens has been charged with fourteen counts in total, including threatening judicial officials, criminal use of a communication facility, and making terroristic threats. He’s currently in police custody in lieu of $350,000 bail.

DA spokesperson Ben Waxman says that Naessens sent threatening letters to two Common Pleas Court judges as well as ten other individuals.

But there’s a twist.

“The defendant wrote the letters in such a way that he framed another person for sending them,” alleges Waxman. “And there was an innocent person taken into custody and incarcerated and then released once it was determined that it wasn’t that person who sent the letters.”

Waxman declined to name the person who had been wrongly incarcerated or the people who were allegedly threatened by Naessens, citing their status as crime victims and witnesses.

Naessens shuttered Eulogy Belgian Tavern in 2017. Originally, he said that he was closing for renovations, but a week later, he announced that it would remain closed.

“I don’t feel safe operating in Philly anymore,” Naessens told Foobooz at the time, going on to cite Philly’s “drug and crime spree” as among the reasons that he was closing up shop.