LOS ANGELES – a Los Angeles man who authorities said kept a small arsenal in his home was charged with making a series of phone calls threatening to kill journalists of The Boston Globe for what he (allegedly, the name “betrayal” attacks on President Donald Trump.
Robert Chain, 68, was Thursday arrested in his home in the Encino neighborhood. A neighbor said that more than 30 heavily armed agents were present, and took him away in his boxers.
Chain later appeared in federal court, where prosecutors unsuccessfully asked the judge to take hold of him, partly because more than 20 weapons and hundreds of rounds of ammunition were seized from his house, Assistant district Attorney of the V. S. Matt Rosenbaum said.
Magistrate Judge Paul Abrams said Chain could be freed, after he and his wife, who is a lawyer, signed a paper guaranteeing to pay $50,000 if he violates the conditions of his release, which his surrender his passport and any other guns.
“I do not think that it is necessary to keep him in custody for a night,” Abrams said.
Chain, who repeatedly pulled his long, dark hair, that was dyed magenta at the ends, thanked the judge in a deep gravel voice.
Chain is charged with making 14 calls to the World newsroom between Aug. 10 and Aug. 22. They started after the entire World called on newspapers throughout the country, to condemn what they call a “dirty war against the free press,” prosecutors said.
On Aug. 16, the day of the scores of the papers were published in Chain told a World staff member that he was going to shoot workers in the head for 4 hours, according to the court documents. That the threat from a blocked phone number prompted a police response and increased safety in the newspaper offices.
Chain said that he would continue to be a threat to the entire World, until it stops its “betrayal and inflammatory” attacks on the Trumpet, according to a court complaint.
Several times, he called Globe staff the “enemy of the people,” a characterization of the journalists that Trump has used repeatedly, such as in a tweet on Thursday before the charges were announced.
Chain, who is retired from the international sale and trade business, has no criminal record and Rosenbaum acknowledged that there was no evidence that he had planned to go to Boston.
Necklace is scheduled to appear in a federal court in Boston on Sept. 24 to face a single charge of making a threatening communication in interstate commerce. He faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Editorial offices have received threats for years and rarely do they result from the cost. However, the sensitivity is increased since a gunman with a long-term grudge against the Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland, killed five workers in June.
Federal officials promised to continue to go after those who put others in fear for their lives.
“In a time of increasing political polarization, and in the midst of the increasing incidence of mass shootings, the members of the public must police their own political rhetoric. Or we will,” Massachusetts u.s. Attorney Andrew Lelling said.
Jane Bowman, a spokeswoman for the whole World, according to the newspaper, grateful for the enforcement of the law on the efforts to protect the staff and the detection of the source of the threats.
“While it was confusing for many of our staff have to be threatened in such a way that no one – really no one – let it be in the way of the important work of this institution,” she said in an e-mail.
A neighbor who lived across the street from the Chain and only knew him as “Rob” said he had an arrogant personality and can often be heard screaming while watching television.
Tim McGowan said that he knew nothing of the Chain, the political preference and the people thought that he was an old hippie because he wore his hair in a “man bun”, and often ran around in just a pair of shorts.
McGowan said that he couldn’t imagine that the Chain is following through with violence, “but I could see him making the threats, because he is such a loudmouth.”
McGowan, said he was startled awake by three loud blows on from 6 until Thursday. When he looked outside, he saw about 30 heavily armed police officers and a tank-like vehicle. Chain finally emerged from the house in handcuffs, wearing only boxer shorts.
Durkin Richer reported from Boston. Associated Press researcher Rhonda Shafner contribution of New York.
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