Man charged with threatening Fauci, NIH director

Man charged with threatening Fauci, NIH director
© Greg Nash

A man has been charged with threatening Anthony FauciAnthony FauciWebb: Pretzel logic  More than 40 Texas hospitals face ICU bed shortages FDA mulling to allow 'mix and match' COVID-19 vaccine booster shots: report MORE, President BidenJoe Biden White House: US has donated 200 million COVID-19 vaccines around the world Police recommend charges against four over Sinema bathroom protest K Street revenues boom MORE’s chief medical adviser, and Francis Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health.

Thomas Patrick Connally Jr., 56, was charged on Tuesday with threats against a federal official and interstate communication containing a threat to harm after uncovered emails showed him vowing to kill the federal officials and their families, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland.

Connally allegedly threatened to harm and/or kill Fauci, Collins and members of their families in emails that were sent by an account from a secure, encrypted email services provider based in Switzerland. The threats occurred from Dec. 28 until July 21, authorities said.

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In one email, Connally said that Fauci, who also serves as the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and his family would be “dragged into the street, beaten to death, and set on fire,” according to the U.S. attorney’s office, citing the affidavit filed in support of the criminal case.

On April 24, seven emails containing threats were allegedly sent from the encrypted account to Fauci in a matter of seven minutes, from 10:05 p.m. to 10:12 p.m.

Just before Fauci received the messages, Collins received four emails filled with threats from the same address, officials said.

Further investigation revealed that the encrypted email account was associated with Connally, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.

Connally also allegedly used the mail.com account to converse with another person about Fauci. Authorities said the two discussed ideas that the federal official was “engaged in fraud regarding HIV and AIDS, which was also one of the topics of the first threatening email sent from the encrypted account to Dr. FauciAnthony FauciWebb: Pretzel logic  More than 40 Texas hospitals face ICU bed shortages FDA mulling to allow 'mix and match' COVID-19 vaccine booster shots: report MORE on December 28, 2020.”

“We will never tolerate violent threats against public officials,” acting U.S. Attorney Jonathan Lenzner said in a statement.

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“Our public health officials deserve our thanks and appreciation for their tireless work, and we will not hesitate to bring charges against those individuals who seek to use fear to silence these public servants,” he added.

Connally, if convicted, faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison for making threats against a federal official and a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison for the charge of interstate communication containing a threat to harm.

His initial appearance at the U.S. district court in Greenbelt, Md., is expected to take place on Wednesday.

Fauci has been vocal about the death threats he and members of his family have received amid the pandemic, discussing them during a number of media appearances.

“Getting death threats for me and my family and harassing my daughters to the point where I have to get security is just, I mean, it’s amazing,” Fauci said during an interview in August with CNN’s Sanjay Gupta.

“I wouldn’t have imagined in my wildest dreams that people who object to things that are pure public health principles are so set against it and don’t like what you and I say, namely in the world of science, that they actually threaten you,” he added.