By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
A Laramie man faces multiple charges after allegedly threatening to kill several state and national political figures.
Christopher Kent Podlesnik, 51, was charged last week in U.S. District Court with seven counts of transmitting threats in interstate commerce.
A federal grand jury charged Podlesnik with leaving voicemail messages on the phones of several elected officials on Jan. 28, including U.S. Rep. Cynthia Lummis, in which he threatened to them with violence.
According to the indictment, Podlesnik left three voicemails for Lummis on different contact numbers, threatening to shoot her in the head.
“I will [expletive] kill you. I will,” he said in one voicemail.
He left two voicemails on phones connected to U.S. Sen. John Barrasso, threatening him in regards to a recent to Wyoming visit by U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, who was in the state to criticize U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney’s impeachment vote against former President Donald Trump.
“You let Gaetz step into the state of Wyoming, not only is he going to be dead…you’re going to be dead,” Podlesnik told Barrasso, according to the indictment.
He left Sen. Anthony Bouchard, R-Cheyenne, two voicemails, calling the state senator a traitor and saying that he would take Bouchard down.
Finally, the indictment said, Podlesnik left a voicemail with a contact number for Gaetz, saying he would put two bullets in the congressman’s head.
“As Americans, we cherish the freedoms secured by our Bill of Rights, including our freedom of speech,” Acting U.S. Attorney Bob Murray said. “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.
A person convicted of one charge of transmitting threats in interstate commerce faces a sentence of up to five years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000 and up to three years of supervised release. If convicted, Podlesnik could face that punishment for each of the seven counts against him.