Man arrested for threatening to murder FCC chair's family

Man arrested for threatening to murder FCC chair's family
© Greg Nash

A California man was arrested by FBI agents on Friday on charges of threatening to kill Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai's family.

The man, according to a release from the Justice Department (DOJ), made the threats because of Pai's role in repealing net neutrality protections.

Markara Man, 33, of Norwalk, Calif., allegedly sent three threatening emails to accounts operated by Pai last December, around the time the FCC voted to repeal net neutrality rules put in place under the Obama administration.

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The first email blamed Pai for a child allegedly committing suicide over the repeal of net neutrality regulations. Subsequent emails contained threats against Pai's family's lives and pictures of his family.

According to the Justice Department, Man is charged with threatening to kill an immediate family member of a U.S. official "with the intent to intimidate or interfere with such official while engaged in the performance of official duties, or with the intent to retaliate against such official on account of the performance of official duties."

Man faces a maximum penalty of up to 10 years in prison if he is convicted.

Man confessed to sending the email threats in a meeting with FBI agents last month, according to DOJ. At the time, Man said the emails were meant to "scare" the FCC chair.

Pai said last year that protests targeting his residence because of his view on net neutrality "crossed a line."

“It certainly crosses a line with me,” Pai said. “I understand that people are passionate about policy, but the one thing in America that should remain sacred is that families, wives and kids, should remain out of it."

Earlier this year the National Rifle Association and the American Conservative Union recognized Pai with an award recognizing conservatives for weathering heavy criticism over their beliefs, though Pai later declined the award.