- A man in Wyoming was charged after sending death threats to Republican politicians.
- Prosecutors say Christopher Podlesnik, 51, specifically threatened to kill Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz.
- The threats occurred on January 28, the same day Gaetz led a rally against Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney.
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A man in Wyoming was charged after he phoned death threats to several Republican legislators in late January, according to the US Department of Justice.
Christopher Podlesnik, 51, was charged with seven counts of transmitting threats in interstate violence for menacing members of Congress.
According to US prosecutors, Podlesnik left voicemails to both of Wyoming's senators, a state senator, as well as Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz containing similar threats: Do not allow Gaetz into Wyoming or Podlesnik would kill each of the politicians involved, prosecutors allege.
"You let Gaetz step into the state of Wyoming," prosecutors allege Podlesnik said in a voicemail to Sen. John Barrasso, "not only is he going to be dead ... you're going to be dead."
Each of the seven voicemails Podlesnik is accused of leaving occurred on the same day Gaetz hosted a rally against Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, a Republican congresswoman who voted to impeach President Donald Trump over his role in the Capitol insurrection on January 6.
Prosecutors allege Podlesnik was much more straightforward with his voicemail to Gaetz.
"I'm not going to [expletive] ask you why you [expletive] think you should be killed, I'm just going to [expletive] put two in your head," Podlesnik said in a voicemail to Gaetz, according to court filings.
In a DOJ release, Acting US Attorney Bob Murray reiterated that freedom of speech laws do not cover threats of violence.
"As Americans, we cherish the freedoms secured by our Bill of Rights, including our freedom of speech," Murray said. "However, true threats of violence are not protected by the Constitution. Working with the FBI and other partners, the United States Attorney's Office will continue to investigate such threats and seek charges in appropriate cases."
If convicted, each of Podlesnik's charges is accompanied by up to five years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, and three years of supervised release. He currently faces up to 35 years in prison for the seven charges.
A jury trial date was not yet scheduled at the time of publication.