LARAMIE (WNE) — A 52-year-old Laramie man has been sentenced to 18 months in prison and fined $10,000 after pleading guilty to four counts of transmitting threats in interstate commerce.
A federal grand jury charged Christopher Kent Podlesnik with leaving voicemail messages threatening various elected officials on Jan. 28, including U.S. Sens. Cynthia Lummis and John Barrasso, U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz and Wyoming state Sen. Anthony Bouchard, according to a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice.
The messages included profanity-laced and threatening language constituting true threats, which are defined by the U.S. 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.”
In a voicemail intended for Lummis, Podlesnik said, among other things, “You are going to (expletive) get shot in the (expletive) back of the head.”
To Bouchard, he threatened, “You’re a (expletive) traitor, and you deserve to be shot.”
Acting U.S. Attorney Bob Murray denounced the threats and said a hard line response is appropriate.
“As Americans, we cherish the freedoms secured by our Bill of Rights, including our freedom of speech,” he said. “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.”