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A 24-year-old Ohio man faces up to five years in prison for allegedly tweeting that he wanted to kill President-elect Donald Trump, a message the government says he tweeted in the early morning hours after Election Day.Zachary Benson’s tweets and Twitter account have been deleted. He was apparently none too happy that the Republican candidate won. According to the government, he tweeted, “Diplomacy. Fucking Fools. I hate you all. I want to bomb every one of your voting booths and your general areas.” About 20 minutes later, at 1:42am EDT, he allegedly tweeted again: “My life goal is to assassinate Trump. Don’t care if I serve infinite sentences. That man deserves to decease existing.”
Enlarge / Zachary Benson.
Cuyahoga County, Ohio, Sheriff’s Office
Benson was released Thursday on a $20,000 unsecured bond (PDF) after being arrested (PDF) on November 10. He is accused of violating a criminal section of the law that makes it illegal to threaten the president or president-elect.
According to an affidavit (PDF) by Phillip Hogan, a Secret Service agent, Benson admitted to making the tweets. The agent said the defendant told him that he was at a suburban Cleveland restaurant on the night of the election and “had a couple of drinks before going home.”
“Benson said he never had any intentions behind any of the posts and was just frustrated…,” the agent wrote. When Benson woke up the day after the election, he realized he “went too far” and immediately deleted the posts, the agent said.
According to Hogan:
Benson said he isn’t a violent person and is rather anti-social and introverted. He feels that he is probably depressed, although he has never been seen or diagnosed by a mental health professional. He has a hard time making friends and socializing with people. He strongly believes though that the lack of bonding with his parents as a child and their constant fighting has caused him to be introverted and anti-social.
The case is now before a federal grand jury. No new court date has been set. The authorities did not say how they learned of the tweets.