Jury fails to convict blogger charged with threatening to behead FBI agents

(CNN)A blogger from Orange County, California, charged with threatening to damage or kill FBI retailers became acquitted of some prices Thursday, and jurors couldn’t attain a verdict at the last counts against him. Peter Ronald Wexler, who was held with our bond for almost a year before trial, became ordered to be launched by US District Judge Josephine L. Staton, who presided over his week-length trial in Santa Ana. Staton declared a mistrial after jurors indicated they had been hopelessly deadlocked on 16 of 20 counts against Wexler. He became accused of threatening to behead and slit the throats of FBI agents, including David Bowdich, who was previously in the price of the bureau’s La field workplace.

Wexler, 50, testified that he trusted sarcasm and hyperbole to get factors across on his weblog, which treated topics that protected US overseas coverage within the Center East, presidential politics, and policing in America. He stated he intended to be provocative in his posts,, and however none had been intended to convey threats against Bowdich or every other dealer. To win a conviction, prosecutors needed to persuade jurors that Wexler‘s remarks have been “a severe expression of a reason to bodily damage or murder” Bowdich and other dealers and that “an inexpensive individual” could interpret them that way as well.

A spokesman for America Legal professional’s office in Los Angeles declined to comment on the verdict and couldn’t right away say whether prosecutors might seek a new trial. Wexler‘s lawyers, Caleb Mason and Marri Derby, said they spoke with jurors after the verdict, who told them the panel became stuck on an 8-4 break up in choose of acquittal. “Mr. Wexler is happy approximately contemporary effects,” Mason stated. “He’s happy the justice machine has worked thus far,” Derby said. He was moved to tears using the verdict. FBI agents visited Wexler‘s RV, parked in a cellular home park in Anaheim, ultimate September after getting to know of weblog posts purportedly in support of cop killers and the phobia group ISIS. He civilly grew to become dealers away at the door but then commenced running a blog about the visit.

“Is it murder to kill an FBI Pig who knocks on your door without a warrant?” Wexler allegedly wrote in a weblog submit. “I think now not.” Is running a blog approximately beheading FBI agents a criminal hazard or unfastened speech? An afternoon later, he allegedly published “a personal MEMO to David Bowdich,” the FBI’s pinnacle agent in Southern California. “If your (expletive) goons ever show up at my residence again,” the submit study, “my knife will strike the necks.” He informed agents on his weblog now not to hassle him once more, “except you’re looking for a Left-Surpassed Shave with my kitchen knife, a Schrade SCHF9, which can chop down a tree and flawlessly slice a juicy red, vine-ripened tomato, in that order!” (The left-Handed reference seemingly applies to “Jihadi John,” an ISIS executioner who seems in numerous Net beheading films.) Wexler wrote that Bowdich should be “shot within the returned!”


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“That (expletive) just were given under my pores and skin, and my trigger finger is all at once getting very itchy,” Wexler stated. The postings blanketed a photograph of Bowdich‘s head located in the crosshairs of a riflescope and superimposed onto the bodies of ISIS beheading sufferers. Bowdich, who has since been promoted to a pinnacle job at FBI headquarters in Washington, testified that he became instructed of the threats, took them seriously, and turned into worried about his own family’s safety. Following the posts, prosecutors portrayed Wexler as an extreme threat now not best to Bowdich, however to the ones investigating him as well.

They sought and obtained special permission to behavior a pre-sunrise SWAT raid to arrest him no matter a peaceful encounter weeks earlier and persuaded a federal Choose he posed a persevering with risk to the public. He had to be held with our bail before trial. Mason, a former federal prosecutor, instructed jurors at some stage in last arguments that the authorities were trying to criminalize unfastened speech because Wexler had criticized participants of the FBI. He referred to as the verdict a vindication. “The authorities have a black eye in this one,” Mason said. “This example need to never be introduced.”

Elizabeth R. Cournoyer

Web enthusiast. Internet fanatic. Music geek. Gamer. Reader. Hipster-friendly coffee practitioner. Spent 2001-2007 merchandising human hair in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Spent 2001-2007 short selling tinker toys in Fort Walton Beach, FL. Spent 2001-2007 importing acne in Phoenix, AZ. Spent several months importing methane in Mexico. Spent the better part of the 90's creating marketing channels for wooden horses in Bethesda, MD. Lead a team implementing toy monkeys in Deltona, FL.

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