A California man has been arrested and faces federal charges for allegedly threatening to kill employees at the Boston Globe in more than a dozen phone calls that federal prosecutors said were meant as “retaliation for the newspaper’s editorial response to political attacks on the media.”
Robert Chain, 68, of Encino, Calif., faced one count of making threatening communications in interstate commerce in Los Angeles lasty Thursday and will be transferred to Massachusetts at a later date, US Attorney Andrew Lelling announced.
“Anyone — regardless of political affiliation -- who puts others in fear for their lives will be prosecuted by this office,” Lelling said. “In a time of increasing political polarization, and amid the increasing incidence of mass shootings, members of the public must police their own political rhetoric. Or we will.”
Prosecutors say Chain began making threatening calls to the Globe newsroom on Aug. 10, the same date the paper announced that it was coordinating with other newspapers to print editorials denouncing the president’s attacks on the media. Echoing Donald Trump, Chain allegedly called reporters “the enemy of the people” and threatened to kill Globe employees.
On Aug. 16, the day the coordinated editorials were published, Chain allegedly threatened to shoot Globe employees in the head “later today, at 4 o’clock,” a threat that led law enforcement to up security around the Globe’s downtown newsroom. In total, prosecutors allege that Chain made 14 threatening phone calls to the Globe between Aug. 10 and 22.
Lelling’s office said the charge Chain faces could carry a sentence of up to five years, one year of supervised release and a fine of $250,000.