Arkansas Man Arrested For “Terroristic Threats” Against CNN

Baxter County Sheriff's Office

An Arkansas man was arrested Tuesday after allegedly making more than 40 harassing phone calls to CNN including death threats against at least one CNN journalist.

Benjamin Craig Matthews, 39, of Mountain Home, Arkansas, was arrested on five felony counts of terroristic threatening, nine misdemeanor counts of harassing communications and four misdemeanor counts of second-degree terroristic threatening.

John F. Montgomery of the Baxter County Sheriff’s Office’s said Matthews is accused of making the phone calls to CNN headquarters between Oct. 31 and Nov. 2. Local press accounts in Arkansas have reported that Matthews made a death threat against CNN anchor Don Lemon.

According to the Arkansas Democrat Gazette, citing sheriff’s office affidavits and court documents, Matthews during one call “asked the CNN switchboard operator, ‘Could I be directed to DL’s dead body hanging from a tree?'” and, during another, asked that his call be directed to “pipe bombs for DL.” (“DL” presumably is a reference to Don Lemon). In another call, Matthews allegedly referred to “bloody pictures of DL cut up in small pieces, like the movie Saw.”

The newspaper reports that Matthews’ telephone records also indicate calls made to MSNBC, Maxine Waters, Charles Schumer and Michael Avenatti, all frequent verbal targets of President Donald Trump. Matthews also allegedly made calls to Washington Speakers Bureau and Planned Parenthood.

Matthews remains in Baxter County jail on a $15,000 bond, and is set to make a court appearance today.

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