A California man recently pleaded guilty to threatening to kill the family of Ajit Pai, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, who is a Republican.
According to an Aug. 31, press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office from the Eastern District of Virginia, Markara Man, 33, of Norwalk, California sent three emails to Chairman Pai’s email accounts on or about Dec. 19 and 20, 2017.
Man faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison when sentenced on December 7.
According to court documents quoted in the press release, the first email from Man, accused Pai of being responsible for a child who allegedly had committed suicide because of the repeal of net neutrality regulations.
The second email listed three locations in or around Arlington, Virginia, and threatened to kill the Chairman’s family members.
The third email had no message in its body, but included an image depicting Pai and, in the foreground and slightly out of focus, a framed photograph of him and his family.
The FBI traced the emails to Man’s residence in Norwalk, California, and when initially confronted in May 2018, Man admitted to the FBI that he sent the email threatening Chairman Pai’s family.
Court documents further show that during the FBI’s search of his residence, Man factory reset a cell phone upon learning of the search and before law enforcement could seize the phone. This action caused data to be wiped from the device.
When asked about the phone being in setup mode, Man lied to the FBI and claimed that he had received it a month earlier and not set it up yet.
Man’s plea was accepted by Senior U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III.