A man from Syracuse, New York was ordained by a federal judge to serve 46 months in prison for threatening to kill former President Barack Obama and Democratic California Representative Maxine Waters. Following Stephen J. Taubert’s sentence of almost four years, he also faces three years of supervised release, NBC News reports.
The sentencing was announced by the U.S. Attorney’s Office Northern District of New York. In June 2017, Taubert made calls to the office of then Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn) and said he was going to go to Obama’s house to hang him. He also reportedly used a slew of racial slurs during his calls.
Reportedly, a year later, he called Waters’ Los Angeles office stating that he would kill her and her staff members. Taubert’s issue with these two political figures stems from their public distaste with President Donald Trump. The 61-year-old said during court that he felt provoked with Water’s public statements against Trump—being that Waters and Trump have a history of contention throughout the years.
“Probably the worst thing for me is social media,” Taubert said, according to Syracuse.com. “I should stay off of it. When I hear all these people knocking the president, it upsets me.”
Ultimately, the jury found him guilty of threatening to kill the former president and a member of Congress. U.S. Attorney Grant C. Jaquith stated in a press release that no acts of bigotry and violence would be tolerated.
“The jury unanimously found that Taubert targeted former President Obama and Representative Waters because of their race,” he said. “Racist threats to kill present and former public officials are not protected free speech, but serious crimes against both the victims and the rule of law that is the cornerstone of our republic. As the trial verdict and sentence in this case illustrate, those who spew such vile, violent hatred will be held accountable.”
The press release also states that because of the attacks’ racist nature, the jury found it applicable to deem this a hate crime. “In addition to returning guilty verdicts on all three counts charged in the indictment, the trial jury made specific findings that Taubert selected his victims because of their actual or perceived race, color, or ethnicity, which provided for an enhancement under the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines based upon hate-crime motivation,” the press release reads.