Maryland Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Charge for Threatening a Member of Congress, “You have the right to your own opinions, but not the right to threaten a federal official’s life”

Justin Kuchta, age 39, of Annapolis, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to a federal charge for threatening to murder a United States Member of Congress. The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron; Chief J. Thomas Manger of the United States Capitol Police; and Acting Superintendent of the Maryland State Police, Lt. Colonel Dalaine Brady.

“You have the right to your own opinions, but not the right to threaten a federal official’s life,” said United States Attorney for the District of Maryland, Erek L. Barron.  “We’ll continue prosecuting these threats to the fullest extent of the law.”

According to his plea agreement, Kuchta made threats to murder a U.S. Member of Congress.  Specifically, a U.S. Member of Congress’ district office in Texas reported that on July 18, 2022, it received a threatening message via an event management website.  The website was being used by an event planner to coordinate an event held in the State of Missouri, being attended by Member of Congress 1.  The Subject line of that email read, in relevant part: “Rally in Missouri – Featured Guest [Member of Congress 1], [Individual 1], and [Individual 2].”  The message stated, “Thank you for the address!!! I’m coming to murder all of you Satanist f*ckers!!! Especially the chuckle-f*ck Zodiak [sic] Killer [Member of Congress 1]!! That fat fake f*cker ass will be the first on the gallows!! SEE ALL OF YOU F*CKERS REALLY SOON!!! With my fresh militia and weapons!!! Thanks for the info f*ckers!!!”  The Member of Congress’ Washington office reported that a similar message was sent on July 22, 2022, using the same event management website.

As detailed in the plea agreement, an investigation revealed that the IP address was registered to a private high-speed network operated by the State of Maryland.  Network records revealed that the IP address originated from a Virtual Private Network and computer assigned to Kuchta.  Kuchta was subsequently interviewed by Special Agents with the U.S. Capitol Police and investigators assigned to the Maryland State Police Computer Crimes Unit at his place of employment in Annapolis, Maryland, after being advised of his rights.  While Kuchta initially denied sending the email messages, he ultimately admitted that he sent the July 18, 2022, threatening message over the website.

Kuchta faces a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison for interstate communication containing a threat to injure.  U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett has scheduled sentencing for April 27, 2023, at 11:00 a.m.

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