Oklahoma Man Pleads Guilty to Threatening DeSantis, Cruz and Other Republicans

by Pelican Press
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An Oklahoma man pleaded guilty on Wednesday to making death threats on social media against Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Texas Senator Ted Cruz and other high-profile Republican politicians.

As part of a plea agreement filed in the U.S. Court for the Western District of Oklahoma, the man, Tyler Jay Marshall, 37, of Enid, pleaded guilty to one count of interstate transmission of threatening communication in exchange for the dismissal of a more serious charge of threatening to murder a U.S. official.

Mr. Marshall faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. A sentencing date has not been set, according to Tyler C. Box, Mr. Marshall’s lawyer.

“My client is remorseful,” Mr. Box said in an interview. “He is ready to take responsibility and take the punishment the court sees fit to move on with his life.”

Mr. Box said that he would seek probation for his client, whom he described as having been in “a bad place” when he made the threats.

Prosecutors could not immediately be reached for comment on Friday evening.

The case is among the latest instances of people facing legal repercussions for threatening to harm public servants. Politicians on both sides of the aisle and their families have seen an upsurge in threats made against them over the phone and on social media.

In June, a New Hampshire man was arrested after threatening to kill a U.S. senator in a voice mail message left at the senator’s office. Last year, an armed man who traveled to Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh’s home was charged with attempted murder, and, in a separate instance, a man was arrested after breaking into the home of former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and striking her husband with a hammer.

Mr. Marshall delivered his threats on Twitter, the social media platform now known as X.

In May, the F.B.I. received a tip that threats had been made on May 15 from a Twitter account tied to Mr. Marshall to kill Governors Kevin Stitt of Oklahoma and Sarah Huckabee Sanders of Arkansas, as well as U.S. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, according to an affidavit prepared by Timothy Bragg, an F.B.I. agent.

Another account believed to be associated with Mr. Marshall also posted a threat to kill Governor DeSantis. “I’ll see you dead in your home,” it read.

A second post directed toward Senator Cruz read, “I’m gonna shoot you soon,” according to the affidavit. The posts that threatened Governors Stitt and Sanders, also threatened their families, the affidavit shows.

The authorities tracked Mr. Marshall to his home, where they executed a search warrant.

He told them that he had created one of the accounts while he was drunk one night to “troll” people “like senators,” online. He said that he could not recall the specific names of officials he targeted, according to the affidavit.

When shown a screenshot of the threat against Senator Cruz, he told investigators, “I would never do that” and “I don’t have a gun.”

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