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Wyoming man sentenced after threatening Lummis, Barrasso, Gaetz, Bouchard

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CASPER, Wyo. — The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Wyoming said on Tuesday that Laramie man Christopher Kent Podlesnik, 52, has been sentenced to serve 18 months in prison and pay a fine of $10,000 after pleading guilty to four counts of “transmitting threats in interstate commerce.”

“A federal grand jury charged Mr. Podlesnik with leaving voicemail messages threatening various elected officials on January 28, 2021, including United States Senators Cynthia Lummis and John Barrasso; United States Representative Matt Gaetz; and Wyoming State Senator Anthony Bouchard,” the press release states. “His messages included profanity-laced and threatening language constituting true threats.”

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Wyoming said that Podlesnik left a voicemail to Lummis in which he said “You are going to [expletive] get shot in the [expletive] back of the head.”

In a voicemail to Bouchard, Podlesnik said: “You’re a [expletive] traitor, and you deserve to be shot.”

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Wyoming noted that “true threats” are defined by the Supreme Court as “statements where the speaker means to communicate a serious expression of an intent to commit an act of unlawful violence to a particular individual or group of individuals.”

“As Americans, we cherish the freedoms secured by our Bill of Rights, including our freedom of speech,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Bob Murray. “However, the criminal threats Christopher Podlesnik made with the intent to place multiple victims in fear of injury or death are not free speech protected by the Constitution. Rather, those threats cost him a hefty fine and 18 months in federal prison.”

FBI Denver Division Special Agent in Charge Michael Schneider said in the release that the FBI “vigorously pursues all credible threats directed at our elected officials.”

“I am extremely proud of our Wyoming agents who successfully investigated this case and worked within the justice system to hold Mr. Podlesnik accountable for his actions,” Schneider said. “I want to thank our law enforcement partners, who also worked on this matter to include the U.S. Capitol Police, Wyoming Highway Patrol and the Laramie Police Department.”

In addition to the prison sentence and fine, Podlesnik was sentenced to three years of supervised release with special conditions and a special assessment totaling $400.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Szott prosecuted the case.

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