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A Los Angeles man was arrested Thursday for allegedly making death threats against employees of the Boston Globe, calling the outlet the “the enemy of the people,” which President Trump says about journalists on a routine basis, the FBI confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter.
Robert D. Chain, 68, of Encino, has been charged with one count of making threatening communications in interstate commerce, according to authorities.
NBC News was first to report the arrest.
On Aug. 10, The Boston Globe requested that newspapers around the country publish a coordinated editorial response to political attacks on the media from the president and his White House.
Shortly after the announcement, Chain allegedly began making threatening calls to the Globe newsroom, referring to the paper as “the enemy of the people” and threatened to kill employees, according to court documents.
In total, Chain allegedly made approximately 14 threatening phone calls to the Globe between August 10 and 22. What’s more, on Aug. 16, the day the coordinated editorial response was published in the paper, he allegedly called the newsroom and threatened to shoot employees in the head “later today, at 4 o’clock,” according to court documents.
As a result of that call, police went to the Globe’s offices and maintained a presence outside the building to ensure the safety of the employees.
“Today’s arrest of Robert Chain should serve as a warning to others, that making threats is not a prank, it’s a federal crime,” Harold H. Shaw, special agent in charge of the FBI, Boston division, said in a statement. “All threats are taken seriously, as we never know if the subject behind the threat intends to follow through with their actions. Whether potentially hoax or not, each and every threat will be aggressively run to ground.”
In a statement to THR, the Globe said: “We are grateful to the FBI, the U.S. 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.”
The charge of making threatening communications in interstate commerce provides for a sentence of no greater than five years, one year of supervised release and a fine of $250,000, according to the FBI.
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