61-year-old Stephen Taubert has been sentenced to nearly 4 years in prison, plus three years of supervised release.
According to NBC News, Taubert, who is from Syracuse, New York, was triggered by both former President Barack Obama and Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-California) when they criticized President Donald Trump. In June of 2017, Taubert called the office of then-Senator Al Franken (D-Minnesota) and said he would go to Obama’s home in Washington, DC and lynch him with a rope, using racial slurs in the call, according to court proceedings.
Then in July of 2018, Taubert phoned Waters’ home office in Los Angeles and threatened to murder both Rep. Waters and all of her staffers. At the time, Waters was an outspoken critic of President Trump’s immigration policy — particularly the short-lived “zero tolerance” policy of separating immigrant children from their parents. A right-wing militia group pledged to occupy her capitol office in protest of her policies, but ultimately backed down.
“Probably the worst thing for me is social media,” Taubert said. “I should stay off of it. When I hear all these people knocking the president, it upsets me.”
Aside from liking President Trump on Facebook, Taubert’s likes primarily consist of female Fox News personalities, and the network itself. In July of 2018, Taubert shared a story about First Lady Melania Trump, writing “so proud of our first lady, she is smart , beautiful and classy, she replaced low IQ, fat ass Obama.” That same month, Taubert shared a meme of The View co-host Whoopi Goldberg in a straitjacket, writing, “The language Whoopi is racist and offensive. The f-word more offensive then the n-word. N-word is not a slur, negros use all the time and in songs.”
In a Department of Justice press release, U.S. Attorney Grant Jaquith said Taubert chose Waters and Obama because they were black public officials.
“The jury unanimously found that Taubert targeted former President Obama and Representative Waters because of their race. 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,” Jaquith said. “As the trial verdict and sentence in this case illustrate, those who spew such vile, violent hatred will be held accountable.”
The racial nature of Taubert’s threats meant the crimes he was charged with were enhanced under the federal hate crimes statute. In addition to the almost 4 years of jail time and 3 years supervised release, Taubert will be ordered to pay a $1,000 fine as part of his sentence.
Tom Cahill is a contributor for Grit Post who covers political and economic news. He lives in Bend, Oregon. Send him an email at tom DOT v DOT cahill AT gmail DOT com.