Thomas Connally Jr. of West Virginia was Friday sentenced by US District Judge Paula Xinis to 37 months in prison for sending threatening emails to Dr. Anthony Fauci. Fauci is the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and Chief Medical Advisor to the president.
Connally admitted in a plea deal to sending emails threatening Fauci and his family anonymously using ProtonMail, an end-to-end encrypted email service. In one email he threatened that Fauci and his family would be, “dragged into the street, beaten to death, and set on fire.”
Connally went on to threaten Dr. Francis Collins, at the time the Director of the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Rachel Levine, then Secretary of Health for the State of Pennsylvania, an unnamed health official from Massachusetts and four unnamed individuals who work for a religious institution in Newark, New Jersey.
Connally issued the threats in anger at the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccinations. In Connally’s email to Collins, he threatened Collins if he did not stop speaking on the need for “mandatory” vaccinations.
Investigators were able to trace the emails back to an Instagram account, which was attached to the ProtonMail account. They were then able to trace the Instagram account back to Connally using his IP address.
Deputy Inspector General for Investigations Christian J. Schrank of the US Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General stated:
Today’s sentencing shows that individuals threatening violence against federal officials and others will be held accountable for their crimes. The public, including public servants, deserve the utmost safety and the assurance that they can perform their duties without interference. Our agency, working closely with our law enforcement partners, will continue to bring those who threaten violence to justice.