An Ohio man was in court Thursday on a federal charge that he tweeted an explicit threat to assassinate President-elect Donald Trump.
Zachary Benson, 24, who resides in the Cleveland suburb of Fairview Park, could face five years in prison if convicted of the count of making threats against the president and successors to the presidency. Benson has waived a preliminary hearing and will face a federal grand jury. He has been ordered held on $20,000 unsecured bond by the U.S. District Court in Cleveland. No further court date has been announced.
According to U.S. Secret Service, Benson issued a tweet threatening Trump during the pre-dawn hours on Nov. 9, after the election was called for Trump. Even while his Twitter account has been deleted, the Secret Service reproduced the tweet in its affidavit, in addition to others that threatened violence over the election results. The Secret Service said that Benson’s threat said, specifically:
"My life goal is to assassinate Trump. Don't care if I serve infinite sentences. That man deserves to decease [sic] existing."
Benson realized when he woke up that morning that he "went too far," according to the Secret Service, and immediately deleted his statements on Twitter. However, federal authorities already knew about them. While Benson admitted to the threats,he said he "never had any intentions behind any of the posts." He was "just frustrated thinking about how President-elect Trump's policies could affect Benson's job," according to the federal affidavit.
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