Wyoming Man Gets Prison Time for Threatening Voicemails
Written by Andrew-Rossi on November 17, 2021
A Laramie man is sentenced to 18 months in prison and $10,000 in fines after leaving several criminal voicemails to several U.S. politicians this January.
Acting United States Attorney Bob Murray announced today that 52-year-old Christopher Kent Podlesnik of Laramie, Wyoming, has been sentenced to 18 months imprisonment. The sentence is the result of Podlesnik pleading guilty to four counts of transmitting threats in interstate commerce.
In late January 2021, Podlensik sent seven threatening voicemails to several state and national politicians. On his list were both Wyoming senators – John Barrasso and Cynthia Lummis – along with U.S. Representative Matt Gaetz and Wyoming state senator Anthony Bouchard.
Podlensik told Senator Lummis she was “going to [expletive] get shot in the [expletive] back of the head.”
In his voicemail to Bouchard, Podlesnik said, among other things, “You’re a [expletive] traitor, and you deserve to be shot.”
The impetus for the threatening voicemail was Matt Gaetz’s visit to the Wyoming Capitol.
On Jan. 28 – the same day Podlesnik left his messages – Gaetz held a rally encouraging Wyomingites to reject recently reelected Liz Cheney after her vote to impeach Donald Trump.
“I’m not going to [expletive] ask you why you [expletive] think you should be killed. I’m just going to [expletive] put two in your head,” Podlesnik said in his voicemail to Gaetz.
“As Americans, we cherish the freedoms secured by our Bill of Rights, including our freedom of speech,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Bob Murray. “However, the criminal threats Christopher Podlesnik made with the intent to place multiple victims in fear of injury or death are not free speech protected by the Constitution. Rather, those threats cost him a hefty fine and 18 months in federal prison.”
Furthermore, Podlesnik’s actions were investigated and deemed “credible threats” by the F.B.I.
“The F.B.I. vigorously pursues all credible threats directed at our elected officials,” said Michael Schneider, Special Agent in Charge of the F.B.I. Denver Division. “I am extremely proud of our Wyoming agents who successfully investigated this case and worked within the justice system to hold Mr. Podlesnik accountable for his actions. I want to thank our law enforcement partners who also worked on this matter to include the U.S. Capitol Police, Wyoming Highway Patrol, and the Laramie Police Department.”
As defined by the U.S. Supreme Court, true threats are “statements where the speaker means to communicate a serious expression of an intent to commit an act of unlawful violence to a particular individual or group of individuals.”
In addition to 18 months in prison, Podlesnik’s sentence includes three years of supervised release with special conditions, a fine of $10,000, and special assessments totaling $400.