Encino man accused of threatening Boston Globe employees

An Encino man was arrested Thursday for allegedly threatening to shoot Boston Globe employees in the head, echoing President Donald Trump by calling the newspaper workers an "enemy of the people."

68-year-old Robert Chain stood before Federal Judge Paul Abrams who had to determine if he should be detained or released on bail.

The Encino man is accused of threatening to kill employees of the Boston Globe newspaper. That was the news organization that organized a campaign of editorials across the country to be critical of the handling of President Trumps anger at the news media.

In the Federal complaint its explained that Chain called the Boston Globe fourteen times with vulgar death threats. We have replaced the vulgarities with the word EXPLETIVE.

Here are two of several phone calls listed:

"Your the enemy of the people and we're going to kill every EXPLETIVE one of you. I'm going to shoot you in the EXPLETIVE head later today at 4pm good bye."

Another one:

"Because you're the enemy of the people I want you to go EXPLETIVE yourself. As long as you keep attacking the President, the duly elected President of the United States, in the continuation of your treasonous and seditious acts, I will continue to threat, harass and annoy the Boston Globe owned the by The New York Times, the other fake news.

The 4pm hearing was some 16 hours after he was arrested at his Encino home.

The prosecution worried that Chain could be a flight risk.

The defense countered by saying he has no criminal record, no past probations and no warrants.

Tim McGowan was awakened by the police action. He says, "About 6 o'clock in the morning there were three loud explosions which turned out to be flash bombs (grenades)."

McGowan says first he thought people were shooting. He called 911.

And, then took pictures of what he was seeing across the street from his home. There was an army of law enforcement officers. McGowan says there had to be "30 or 40 of them." Chain was awakened, taken outside in his boxer shorts and arrested.

We showed McGowan the complaint that included Chain's alleged profane-laced death threats to members of the Globe. He couldn't believe his neighbors language as portrayed in the complaint. Says McGowan, "I'm amazed that anyone would get to that level of opposition that they'd threaten violence. It sounds like somebody not using their head and they're just letting their emotions overwhelm them with the wrong people at the wrong time."

Other neighbors said they liked Chain. Next door, Shadi Pezeshki said, "I know the guy. He's a great guy."

Another neighbor, who only wanted to be called "Lynn" said, "I've known him for a long time. He's just very very nice. I'm shocked.. I'm just shocked." She didn't know he had guns in the house. None of the neighbors we spoke with new that.

In court, prosecutors said federal agents removed 20 long guns, handguns and 100's of rounds of ammunition from around the house.

The judge granted bail of $50,000 to be shared by Chain and his wife, who is not implicated in the case.

He provided a number of restrictions that included:

-- Chain can not be around guns or drugs.

-- Chain can not leave the area except to go to a family reunion in Wyoming in September and a trip to Boston to make a court appearance.

-- Chain must surrender his passport.

-- Chain's wife, who is an attorney, must remove from her husband's possession any guns that may have not been seized in the early morning raid on his Encino home.

-- In Boston, Chain can not be within 500 feet of the Boston Globe.

Judge Abrams ordered Chain to be appear in a Boston court no later than September 24th, 2018


Robert Darrell Chain, 68, is scheduled to make his initial federal court appearance Thursday afternoon in downtown Los Angeles, but he is expected to be transferred to Massachusetts for arraignment in federal court in Boston.

A criminal complaint filed Aug. 13 in Boston charges Chain with making threatening communications across state lines. A firearms check revealed that Chain owns several firearms, and bought a new 9mm carbine rifle earlier this year, according to the complaint.

Prosecutors allege that when the Globe called for newspapers around the country to use their opinion pages to voice support of the First Amendment and denounce Trump's repeated description of the news media as an "enemy of the people,'' Chain made over a dozen threatening calls to the newspaper between Aug. 10 and Aug. 22.

In the calls, Chain referred to the Globe as "the enemy of the people'' and threatened to kill newspaper employees, according to prosecutors.

According to the complaint, on Aug. 16, the day the coordinated editorial response was published in the Boston Globe and newspapers across the country, Chain allegedly called the Globe newsroom and threatened to shoot Globe employees in the head "later today, at 4 o'clock.''

As a result of that call, Globe officials contacted law enforcement, which maintained a presence at the newspaper's offices throughout the day.

The charge of making threatening communications in interstate commerce calls for a possible prison sentence of up to five years, prosecutors said.

Jane Bowman, spokeswoman for the Globe, issued a statement thanking the FBI and authorities in Boston and Los Angeles "for the work they did in protecting the Globe while threats were coming in, for investigating the source and for making this arrest. We couldn't have asked for a stronger response.

"While it was unsettling for many of our staffers to be threatened in such a way, nobody -- really, nobody -- let it get in the way of the important work of this institution,'' Bowman said in the statement published by the Globe.

News of the arrest broke just hours after Trump again took to Twitter to lash out at the media, punctuating his post with his oft-repeated denigration of the news media as the "enemy of the people.''

"I just cannot state strongly enough how totally dishonest much of the media is,'' Trump wrote.

In announcing the indictment of Chain, U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts Andrew Lelling -- a Trump appointee -- said in a statement, "Anyone -- regardless of political affiliation -- who puts others in fear for their lives will be prosecuted by this office. In a time of increasing political polarization, and amid the increasing incidence of mass shootings, members of the public must police their own political rhetoric. Or we will.''

Alexandra Ellerbeck, North American program coordinator for the Committee to Protect Journalists, an independent nonprofit organization that promotes press freedom worldwide, issued a statement condemning the threats against the Globe.

"Journalists should never face violence for doing their jobs, yet in the United States multiple news outlets have reported direct threats of physical violence,'' Ellerbeck said. "It is crucial that in this hostile climate, newsrooms and law enforcement take threats against reporters seriously. We are glad that they appear to have done so in the case of the threats against the Boston Globe.''

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