UPDATED, 1:08 PM: Encino resident Robert D. Chain pleaded guilty today to seven counts of making violent threats against Boston Globe employees in retaliation for the newspaper’s editorial response to political attacks on the media. Read details of the case below.
Chain’s sentencing is set for September 23 in Massachusetts District Court. The Justice Department said each count carries a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison, a year of probation and a $250,000 fine, under U.S. guidelines.
PREVIOUSLY, August 30: A Los Angeles man is facing federal charges for threatening to shoot Boston Globe employees whom he called an “enemy of the people,” words used frequently by President Donald Trump to describe the news media.
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Robert D. Chain was arrested Thursday at his Encino home and charged with one count of making threatening communications in interstate commerce, according to a statement by the U.S. Attorney’s Office District of Massachusetts. The threat was in retaliation for the newspaper’s editorial response to political attacks on the media, prosecutors say.
According to court documents, Chain began making threatening calls to the Globe’s newsroom immediately after it published the announcement. In the calls, Chain referred to the Globe as “the enemy of the people” and threatened to kill newspaper employees. Chain is alleged to have made about 14 threatening phone calls to the Globe between August 10 and 22.
The day the coordinated editorial response was published in the Boston Globe, Chain called the newsroom and threatened to shoot Globe employees in the head “later today, at 4 o’clock,” prosecutors said.
In response to the threats, Boston police stationed officers at 1 Exchange Place, the downtown office building where the Globe’s editorial offices are located.
“Today’s arrest of Robert Chain should serve a warning to others, that making threats is not a prank, it’s a federal crime,” Harold Shaw, special agent in charge of the FBI, Boston Division, said in a statement. “All threats are taken seriously, as we never know if the subject behind the threat intends to follow through with their actions. Whether potentially hoax or not, each and every threat will be aggressively run to ground.”
Chain faces a maximum sentence of up to five years and a fine of $250,000, according to US Attorney Andrew Lelling’s office, which is prosecuting.
Chain’s arrest came hours after Trump launched the latest of his attacks against the news media in a torrent of tweets early Thursday morning.
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