Chief United States District Court Judge Glenn T. Suddaby sentenced a supporter of President Donald Trump to 46 months in prison after a jury convicted the man of threatening to kill Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) and former President Barack Obama.
“The jury unanimously found that Taubert targeted former President Obama and Representative Waters because of their race,” U.S. Attorney Grant C Jaquith said following the hearing.
“Racist threats to kill present and former public officials are not protected free speech, but serious crimes against both the victims and the rule of law that is the cornerstone of our republic,” he continued. “As the trial verdict and sentence in this case illustrate, those who spew such vile, violent hatred will be held accountable.”
Taubert blamed criticism of Trump and social media for his violent threats, according to Syracuse.com.
“Probably the worst thing for me is social media,” he said. “I should stay off of it.”
“When I hear all these people knocking the president, it upsets me,” he admitted.
Racism was also a factor, according to the Department of Justice.
“In addition to returning guilty verdicts on all three counts charged in the indictment, the trial jury made specific findings that Taubert selected his victims because of their actual or perceived race, color, or ethnicity, which provided for an enhancement under the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines based upon hate-crime motivation,” the DOJ noted.