Michigan man indicted for allegedly sending threat to Ukraine whistleblower's attorney
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Federal prosecutors indicted a Michigan man for allegedly sending a threat via email to an attorney representing the intelligence community whistleblower whose complaint sparked House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry against President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump fires intelligence community inspector general who flagged Ukraine whistleblower complaint Trump organization has laid off over 1000 employees due to pandemic: report Trump invokes Defense Production Act to prevent export of surgical masks, gloves MORE.

The man, Brittan Atkinson, is accused of sending attorney Mark Zaid an email that said, "All traitors must die miserable deaths. Those that represent traitors shall meet the same fate" on Nov. 7, according to an indictment unsealed Thursday, ABC News reported.

Prosecutors also allege that Atkinson wrote in the email, "Keep looking over your shoulder. We know who you are, where you live, and who you associate with. We are all strangers in a crowd to you."  


Atkinson has pleaded not guilty to a charge of sending threatening communications, according to the court docket, the outlet reported. A judge ordered that he will be detained until his next hearing on Feb. 24.

The charge is punishable by up to five years in prison, according to Politico. Zaid told Politico that it is not the only threatening email he and his legal partner, Bradley Moss, have received since representing the whistleblower.

Zaid confirmed he received the email to The Hill on Thursday.

"I hope this indictment sends a message to others that such behavior will not be tolerated by a civil society that is governed by law. It's not appropriate for anyone to threaten another individual's life, regardless of political views," Zaid said in a statement to The Hill. 

"My job was to ensure the rule of law was followed in how whistleblowers are treated. That role should not be negatively weaponized by partisans. I will continue to zealously represent my clients, to include & especially whistleblowers, and to ensure the rule of law is enforced & protected," he continued. 

Seamus Hughes, the deputy director of the Program on Extremism at George Washington University, first reported the indictment, according to multiple outlets.

Last year, Andrew Bakaj, another attorney representing the whistleblower, sent a cease-and-desist letter to White House counsel Pat Cipollone, calling on the president to stop attacking his client.

"I am writing to respectfully request that you counsel your client on the legal and ethical peril in which he is placing himself should anyone be physically harmed as a result of his, or his surrogates', behavior," Bakaj wrote.

"Should anyone be physically harmed, my co-counsel, Mark Zaid, and I will not hesitate to take any and all appropriate action against your client,” he added at the time.