All suspects are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
(Cheyenne, WY) – Acting United States Attorney Bob Murray announced on March 26th the unsealing of an indictment, under U.S. District Court Docket Number 21-CR-29-S, charging Christopher Kent Podlesnik, 51, of Laramie, with seven counts of transmitting threats in interstate commerce.
In the indictment, a federal grand jury charged Podlesnik with leaving voicemail messages threatening various elected officials on January 28, 2021, including members of Congress.
Podlesnik made his initial appearance Friday by video-teleconference before the Honorable Mark L. Carman, a United States Magistrate Judge for the District of Wyoming. He is scheduled to appear for an arraignment and detention hearing on March 30, 2021. A future jury trial should be scheduled at that time.
“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, true threats of violence are not protected by the Constitution. Working with the FBI and other partners, the United States Attorney’s Office will continue to investigate such threats and seek charges in appropriate cases.”
“The FBI remains committed to protecting the civil liberties of all Americans to include First Amendment protected speech. We are equally committed to investigating violations of federal law when speech threatens violence and physical harm to others,” said FBI Denver Special Agent in Charge Michael Schneider.
Per count, a person convicted of transmitting threats in interstate commerce faces up to 5 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, and up to three years of supervised release.
An indictment merely contains allegations, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.