Wyoming man sentenced to prison for threatening state and elected officials

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Published: Nov. 17, 2021 at 12:27 AM CST
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CHEYENNE, Wyo. (Release) - Acting United States Attorney Bob Murray announced today that CHRISTOPHER KENT PODLESNIK, 52, of Laramie, Wyoming, has been sentenced to 18 months imprisonment after previously pleading guilty to four counts of transmitting threats in interstate commerce. The sentence also includes three years of supervised release with special conditions, a fine of $10,000, and special assessments totaling $400.

A federal grand jury charged Mr. Podlesnik with leaving voicemail messages threatening various elected officials on January 28, 2021, including United States Senators Cynthia Lummis and John Barrasso; United States Representative Matt Gaetz; and Wyoming State Senator Anthony Bouchard. His messages included profanity-laced and threatening language constituting true threats. As defined by the Supreme Court, true threats are “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 left for United State Senator Cynthia Lummis, Podlesnik said, among other things, “You are going to [expletive] get shot in the [expletive] back of the head.” In a voicemail to Wyoming State Senator Anthony Bouchard, Podlesnik said, among other things, “You’re a [expletive] traitor, and you deserve to be shot.”

“As Americans, we cherish the freedoms secured by our Bill of Rights, including our freedom of speech,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Bob Murray. “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.”

“The FBI vigorously pursues all credible threats directed at our elected officials,” said Michael Schneider, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Denver Division. “I am extremely proud of our Wyoming agents who successfully investigated this case and worked within the justice system to hold Mr. Podlesnik accountable for his actions. I want to thank our law enforcement partners who also worked on this matter to include the U.S. Capitol Police, Wyoming Highway Patrol and the Laramie Police Department.”

This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Thomas Szott.

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