An indictment that was unsealed on Thursday shows that Brittan J. Atkinson of Michigan was arrested for sending a threatening email in which he wrote he would hunt down and “bleed [out]” an attorney for the whistleblower whose complaint was the center of the House’s impeachment proceedings.
Atkinson allegedly sent the message to one of the whistleblower’s attorneys, Mark Zaid. The email was sent one day after Donald Trump had held up the lawyer’s photo and read some of his Twitter posts during a November rally in Louisiana.
“All traitors must die miserable deaths,” Atkinson’s email read according to the indictment. “Those that represent traitors shall meet the same fate[.] We will hunt you down and bleed you out like the pigs you are. We have nothing but time, and you are running out of it, keep looking over your shoulder[.] We know who you are, where you live, and who you associate with [.] We are all strangers in a crowd to you[.]”
Atkinson was detained temporarily after pleading guilty to a charge of violating a federal law that bans threats communicated across state lines. If found guilty he could serve up to five years in prison.
Atkinson will have to appear on Monday at a detention hearing. His wife, Theresa recently told NBC that she was speechless when she heard he had been arrested.
“Was his email tactful? No, it wasn’t. Was it kind of disturbing? Yes, it was,” Atkinson said. “But him along with several other people in this country are fed up with the bull—-. They just want the country to run.”
Theresa Atkinson added that her husband has “no guns, no income and is disabled.”
“He’s not in a group of anything except his little clan that plays video games,” she said. He’s nothing. He’s no one. He sometimes has a big mouth and he does get angry,” she added, “but he is not a threat in any way shape or form and he has a constitutional right to speak.”
In a statement about the indictment, Zaid said, “I hope this indictment sends a message to others that such behavior will not be tolerated by a civil society that is governed by law. It’s not appropriate for anyone to threaten another individual’s life, regardless of political views.”
Zaid then added, “I am very grateful to the FBI and Justice Dept for taking these threats seriously and sending the right message.”