California man who sent death threats to Ajit Pai gets 20 months in prison

FCC Chairman Pai Attends News Conference On Providing Low Cost Student Internet

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai speaking at the National Press Club in October. 

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A man who sent emails threatening to kill the family of Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai has been sentenced to more than one and a half years in prison.

Markara Man, 33, of Norwalk, California, sent emails in late 2017 alleging that Pai had caused a minor’s suicide by repealing net neutrality regulations and threatening to kill Pai’s family, officials said.

He also sent an email containing an image of Pai and his family. 

Man pleaded guilty to sending the emails in August. 

“Online threats of violence have real-world consequences,” G. Zachary Terwilliger, US Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, said in a statement on Friday. “Threatening to actually kill a federal official’s family because of a disagreement over policy is not only inexcusable, it is criminal.”

When traced by the FBI, the US Attorney’s Office said Man did a factory-reset on his cellphone before it was seized.

Following the controversial net neutrality decision, Pai at the end of last year admitted to Russian interference during the debate.

Around 500,000 comments submitted to the net neutrality discussion had been linked back to Russian accounts, the FCC said in response to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests from The New York Times and BuzzFeed.

Earlier this week, Pai said he also wants to give carriers more power to automatically block robocalls.

(If you’re in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741).

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