Federal judge rules no ‘true threat’ in e-mails to McConnell

A California federal judge ruled that anonymous e-mails sent to Senator Mitch McConnell in 2018 and 2019 were not “true threats,” therefore protected under the First Amendment. A true threat, according to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal, is one that is “…understood by people hearing or reading it in context as a serious expression of an intent to kill or injure” another person. Judge Charles Breyer noted that while Howard Weiss sent the e-mails in anger, he said that others would hurt McConnell, not him. (Reason, July 28, 2020, by Eugene Volokh of the Volokh Conspiracy)

Also read another Volokh article, July 28, 2020, on the case, “Harassing E-Mail to Sen. McConnell Can’t Be Punished as ‘Speech Integral to Criminal Conduct.'”

For related FAC coverage, click here and here.