Encino, CA: Man arrested and charged with allegedly threatening to kill Boston Globe newspaper employees.
Authorities have arrested a man for allegedly making repeated violent threats against Boston Globe newspaper employees earlier in August 2018 in response to the newspaper’s efforts to counter political attacks on the press from United States of America President Donald Trump.
The man, identified by authorities as 68 year old Robert Chain from Encino, California, was taken into police custody during a raid at his home by FBI agents early on Thursday, August 30th, 2018.
Robert Chain’s court hearing was scheduled early on Thursday in a federal courtroom in Downtown Los Angeles, California, and will later be transferred to Boston, Massachusetts at a later date.
Robert Chain was charged with one count of making threatening communications in interstate commerce, and he faces a maximum sentence of 5 years in jail and a $250,000 fine if convicted.
During federal court, Robert Chain was ordered to release any and all guns in his possession before being released on $50,000 bond.
Authorities including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (F.B.I.) uncovered at least 20 firearms — all in “plain view” — while searching his home in Encino, California.
Andre Townsend, Robert Chain’s public defender, claimed during court that his client was not a flight risk and had committed no prior crimes.
Matt Rosenbaum, United States Attorney, argued that because of his “very specific threats,” he posed a “serious risk of danger to the community.”
Magistrate Judge Paul Abrams chose to let Robert Chain go, under the condition that he cough up $50,000 if he violates the terms of his release.
The condition included surrendering his passport, staying away from Boston Globe newspaper staffers and not coming within 500 feet of the newsroom.
** Picture from NBC News: **
As he was leaving the courthouse late Thursday, Robert Chain walked down the street and said to news reporters, “America was saved when Donald J. Trump was elected.”
According to a news release from the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts, Robert Chain allegedly began making threatening phone calls on August 10th 2018, the same day the Boston Globe newspaper announced it and hundreds of other publications around the nation were conducting a “coordinated editorial response to political attacks on the media.”
Prosecutors say Robert Chain made 14 threatening phone calls to the Boston Globe newspaper from August 10th, 2018 to August 22nd, 2018, and in his calls, Robert Chain referred to the Boston Globe newspaper as “the enemy of the people”.
** Picture from CBS News: **
The editorials inspired by the Boston Globe newspaper drew attention to animosity toward the news media that has been fanned by United States of America President Donald Trump, who has referred to the press as the “enemy of the people” and has frequently claimed it is creating “fake news.”
Federal prosecutors said on August 16th, 2018, the day the coordinated editorials went to print, Robert Chain called the Boston Globe newsroom and threatened to shoot Boston Globe newspaper employees in the head “later today, at 4 o’clock”.
Due to the threat, Boston Police Department responded and provided a presence outside the building to protect Boston Globe newspaper employees.
Newsrooms have received threats for years, but sensitivity has been heightened since a gunman with a long-running grudge against The Capitol newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland, killed 5 employees there in June 2018.
Federal officials pledged to continue to go after anyone who puts others in fear of their lives.
In a statement, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (F.B.I.) Boston Division Harold H. Shaw said, “Everyone has a right to express their opinion, but threatening to kill people, takes it over the line and will not be tolerated. Today’s arrest of Robert Chain should serve a warning to others, that making threats is not a prank, it’s a federal crime. All threats are taken seriously, as we never know if the subject behind the threat intends to follow through with their actions.”
In response to the arrest, the Boston Globe newspaper released a statement saying, “We are grateful to the FBI, the US Attorney’s Office, the Boston Police, and local authorities in California for the work they did in protecting the Globe while threats were coming in, for investigating the source, and for making this arrest. We couldn’t have asked for a stronger response. While it was unsettling for many of our staffers to be threatened in such a way, nobody – really, nobody – let it get in the way of the important work of this institution.”