Gladwin County man sent to prison for threats against Trump whistleblower’s attorney
Brittan Atkinson sent a threatening email to attorney Mark Zaid a day after he was subject of criticism from Trump
GLADWIN COUNTY, Mich. (WJRT) - A Gladwin County man will spend a year in a federal penitentiary for threatening to kill an attorney representing the whistleblower who started the impeachment inquiry of former President Donald Trump.
A federal judge in Bay City sentenced 54-year-old Brittan Atkinson of Beaverton on Thursday to one year and one day in prison.
Investigators say Atkinson emailed the lawyer in November, writing, “all traitors must die miserable deaths. Those that represent traitors shall meet the same fate.” The email went on to say, “we will hunt you down and bleed you out like the pigs you are.”
Atkinson sent the email a day after Trump criticized attorney Mark Zaid during a rally in November. Zaid reported the email to the FBI, which launched an investigation and determined the threats came from Atkinson.
“The First Amendment does not protect those who threaten violence against another person. Those threats are taken seriously, will be fully investigated and people will be held accountable,” said Timothy Waters, special agent in charge of the FBI in Michigan.
Atkinson was indicted in U.S. District Court in February 2020 and pleaded guilty in December 2020 to one count of making an interstate communication of a threat to injure.
“The actions in this case are very alarming,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Saima Mohsin. “Once free speech crosses the line and becomes a threat, you can rest assured that the full extent of the law will be brought to bear. No one should be threatened for simply doing their job.”
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