California law enforcement officials arrested a 33-year-old man on Friday and charged him with threatening to murder Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai's family "for Pai’s role in repealing regulations relating to net neutrality," the Department of Justice said in a statement.
Court documents showed that Markara Man, of Norwalk, allegedly sent three threatening emails to Pai in mid-December. The DOJ reports:
The first email accused Chairman Pai of being responsible for a child who allegedly had committed suicide because of the repeal of net neutrality regulations. The second email listed three locations in or around Arlington, and threatened to kill the Chairman’s family members. The third email had no message in its body, but included an image depicting Chairman Pai and, in the foreground and slightly out of focus, a framed photograph of Chairman Pai and his family.
The FBI opened an investigation shortly after the emails were sent and tracked the location of where they allegedly originated from to Man's home. Politico reports:
Man acknowledged sending the email that threatened Pai's family, and said he used the address "[email protected]" to hide who he was and because he thought the handle sounded "tougher," the affidavit said.
Prosecutors charged Man with "threatening to murder a member of the immediate family of a U.S. official with the intent to intimidate or interfere with such official while engaged in the performance of official duties, or with the intent to retaliate against such official on account of the performance of official duties."
The DOJ notes that if Man is convicted he could face up to 10 years in prison.