Man who threatened to kill Fauci sentenced to 3 years in prison

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A federal judge on Thursday sentenced a West Virginia man to more than three years in prison for sending threatening emails to Anthony Fauci, including one saying the immunologist and his family would be beaten to death and set on fire, public officials said. prosecutors.

The man, Thomas Patrick Connally Jr., 56, pleaded guilty in May to making threats against a federal official and also admitted to sending threatening messages to other health officials, including Francis Collins, the former director of the National Institutes of Health. health. to the US Attorney’s Office in Maryland.

Judge Paula Xinis of the U.S. District Court in Maryland sentenced Mr. Connally to 37 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release. Mr Connally admitted in a plea deal that he sent the messages to Dr. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, had sent it using an anonymous and encrypted email account, federal prosecutors said in a statement.

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According to court documents, in one email, dated July 21, 2021, Mr. Connally wrote to Dr. Fauci: “I will slaughter your whole family. You will pay for your crimes with the blood of your children.”

A lawyer for Mr Connally was not immediately available late Thursday.

In Wednesday’s sentencing documents, Ellie Marranzini, a federal public defender, said the isolation of Mr Connally’s mother in a nursing home during the pandemic had stressed Mr Connally. Ms Marranzini said the impact of social isolation on nursing home residents was “a topic of great concern to him at the time”.

Mr. Connally’s threats to Dr. Fauci and others came amid an intense bout of vitriol against health officials who had called for measures such as masking and social distancing to stop the spread of Covid-19.

dr. Fauci, a government scientist for more than half a century, stood out among health officials by arousing the ire of critics. While his dedication to science endeared him to many, he became a villain to many others.

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Donald Trump supporters often chanted “Fire Fauci,” and as president, Mr. Trump himself mused on it openly. dr. Fauci was accused of inventing the virus and taking advantage of vaccines.

“Everyone has the right to disagree,” Erek L. Barron, the US attorney for Maryland, said in a statement Thursday. “But you have no right to threaten the life of a federal official.”

In addition to threatening Dr. Fauci and Dr. Collins, federal prosecutors said, Mr. Connally also sent similar messages to Rachel Levine, a pediatrician and assistant secretary of health at the Department of Health and Human Services; a public health officer in Massachusetts; and a religious leader.

On April 24, 2021, Mr. Connally, most recently of Snowshoe, W.Va., Dr. Collins sent four emails as of 9:34 p.m. threatening him and his family with physical assault and death if the scientist “wouldn’t stop speaking about the need for ‘mandatory’ Covid-19 vaccinations,” officers from justice in the statement.

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“Connally admitted he made threats to Drs. Fauci and Collins with intent to intimidate or disrupt the performance of their official duties,” the statement said, “and with intent to exact revenge on Dr. Fauci and Dr. Collins for carrying out their official duties, including discussing Covid-19, testing and preventing it.”

Investigators said the anonymous email account was linked to Mr Connally. In July 2021, authorities arrested Connally in Snowshoe, searched his home and vehicle, and seized five laptops and two cell phones, the statement said.

In a sentencing memorandum filed Monday, prosecutors called the series of emails sent by Mr Connally a “terror campaign.”

“Smart and technologically advanced, the defendant intended to amplify the terror he was trying to sow by using a foreign encrypted email provider,” they wrote. “Using this provider also allowed the defendant to hide his identity and continue to send his threatening emails unabated.”

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