Greenbelt, Maryland (AFP) – A West Virginia man was sentenced Thursday to three years in federal prison after he sent emails threatening Dr. Anthony Fauci and another federal health official to talk about the coronavirus and efforts to prevent its spread.
Using an anonymous email account based in Switzerland, the US Department of Justice said in a press release that Thomas Patrick Connally Jr. threatened to kill Fauci or members of his family. One of his letters said they would be “dragged into the street, beaten to death, and burned”.
Another email said According to court records, Fauci would be “stalked, captured, tortured, and killed.”
Fauci is the chief medical advisor to President Joe Biden and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. Fauci has been a strong supporter of vaccines and other preventive measures against COVID-19. He said he expects to retire At the end of Biden’s current term.
Another target was Dr. Francis Collins, who was the director of the National Institutes of Health at the time of the Connally threats. The Department of Justice said Collins and his family have been threatened with physical assault and death if Collins continues to talk about the need for “mandatory” COVID-19 vaccines.
The Department of Justice said Connally also admitted sending threatening emails to Dr. Rachel Levine, then Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Health. An anonymous public health official in Massachusetts and a religious leader in New Jersey has also been threatened.
“Everyone has the right to disagree, but you do not have the right to threaten the life of a federal official,” Eric L. Barron, the US Attorney for the District of Maryland, said in a statement.
US District Judge Paula Shinnis sentenced Connally, 56, to 37 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release. Connally recently lived in Snowshoe, West Virginia.