A West Virginia man will spend three years in prison followed by three years of supervised release for threatening National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci in a December 2020 email, the U.S. Justice Department said Friday.
According to a DOJ press release Friday, Thomas Patrick Connally, Jr., of Snowshoe, West Virginia, was sentenced to three years in federal prison by U.S. District Judge Paula Xinis after pleading guilty to sending threats to Fauci, Former National Institute of Health Director Dr. Francis Collins, Assistant Secretary for Health Dr. Rachel Levine, a Massachusetts health official, and a religious leader, from December 2020 to July 25, 2021, via email.
"Everyone has the right to disagree, but you do not have the right to threaten a federal official's life," U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland, Erek L. Barron said in the release. "Threats like these will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."
Connally, 57, used an anonymous email account from a secure, encrypted server to send the officials threatening emails, including a threat that Fauci’s family be "dragged into the street, beaten to death, and set on fire."
"I hope you get a rope around your vile elf neck, and a bullet in your disgusting elf face tonight," one of Connally’s emails said, according to the criminal complaint. "Hope someone takes a baseball bat to your dirty, lying, elf skull and puts you out of your misery."
Connally sent seven of the threatening emails on April 24, 2021.
"Today's sentencing shows that individuals threatening violence against federal officials and others will be held accountable for their crimes," Deputy Inspector General for Investigations Christian J. Schrank of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General said in the DOJ release. "The public, including public servants, deserve the utmost safety and the assurance that they can perform their duties without interference. Our agency, working closely with our law enforcement partners, will continue to bring those who threaten violence to justice."
Connally was arrested on July 27, 2021, in Snowshoe. Five laptops and two cell phones were seized pursuant to a search warrant, officials said.
U.S. Attorney Erek L. Barron commended the Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General for its work in the investigation. Barron thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Rajeev R. Raghavan and Jessica C. Collins, who prosecuted the federal case, DOJ officials said.
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