Connecticut Man Admits He Threatened to Kill President Trump

A Connecticut man pleaded guilty this week to a series of hoaxes, including sending a letter with white powder threatening to kill President Trump.

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© Doug Mills/The New York Times In addition to threatening President Trump, Mr. Gravelle also made threats to federal probation officers and mental health providers. He also admitted to sending several letters containing white powder he claimed was anthrax.
© Doug Mills/The New York Times In addition to threatening President Trump, Mr. Gravelle also made threats to federal probation officers and mental health providers. He also admitted to sending several letters containing white powder he claimed was anthrax.

He pleaded guilty to seven charges related to threats he had made in September 2018, according to John H. Durham, the United States attorney in Connecticut.

In addition to sending the threatening letter to the president along with a substance, he claimed was anthrax, Mr. Gravelle emailed threatening messages to harm or intimidate federal probation officers and mental health providers. He also sent messages threatening to explode facilities in New Haven, a federal prison in Washington and a credit union in Bristol, Conn., as well as threats to blow up planes and property at Burlington International Airport, court records show. 

Mr. Gravelle, also known as Roland Prejean, will face a maximum of 60 years in prison and possible fines when he is sentenced on March 26. He faces additional jail time for violating his supervised release, according to a spokesman for Mr. Durham.

Donald Trump
Donald Trump

J. Patten Brown III, a lawyer representing Mr. Gravelle, said in an interview on Tuesday that Mr. Gravelle’s letters, emails, and calls were cries for help.

“It’s a sad case,” he said. “Honestly, it’s another example that we use jails for mental institutions.”

No intention to lows

Mr. Brown noted that since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the penalties had gotten stiffer for making these kinds of threats.

Donald Trump among US military forces
Donald Trump among US military forces

“Pre-9/11,” he said, “half the time they would have just hung up the phone or sent an F.B.I. agent to yell at you. Not now.”

There have been several recent high-profile cases in which threats were made against public officials.

Donald Trump using a cellphone
Donald Trump using a cellphone

In December, a New Jersey man was sentenced to 87 months in prison for threatening to kill a former United States representative, Frank LoBiondo, and his staff. The man, Joseph Brodie, 40, of Millville, N.J., who was seeking assistance for health care he was receiving from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, made the threat after he had been denied a meeting with the congressman, prosecutors said.

In June, a Long Island man was sentenced to 18 months in prison for threatening to kill two United States senators in retaliation for their support for Brett M. Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court.

Florida man

That month, a Florida man pleaded guilty to calling the offices of three members of Congress and leaving racist and expletive-laced messages in which he threatened to kill them. The man, John J. Kless, was sentenced to 12 months and one day in prison, followed by three years of supervised release and a $100 fine.

Donald Trump
President Donald Trump said he doesn’t deserve the “Lie Of The Year”

On Monday, Mr. Gravelle pleaded guilty to five counts of maliciously conveying false information about an explosive, which carries a maximum prison term of 10 years on each count.

He also pleaded guilty to one count related to sending letters with fake anthrax, an offense that carries a maximum term of imprisonment of five years, and one count of making threats against the president, which carries a maximum of five years.

In July 2013, Mr. Gravelle was sentenced to 70 months in prison and three years of supervised release for mailing threatening letters in 2010.

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