WASHINGTON — A federal grand jury is investigating a Twitter user for allegedly sending threatening tweets about Rep. Michele Bachmann.
The man, whose identity and Twitter username are redacted from a court order released Tuesday, allegedly sent a graphic and potentially threatening tweet about Bachmann last summer. A grand jury subpoenaed Twitter for the user’s personal information, and he filed a motion asking the court to stop the investigation. U.S. District Court Judge Royce Lamberth ruled against the man, identified only as “Mr. X,” in a ruling released Thursday.
Lamberth wrote that the government has the right to obtain the man’s identity in order to determine if he might actually follow through on his allegedly threatening tweet, given that it was directed at a presidential candidate.
Lamberth wrote that it’s unlikely the grand jury would actually indict the man for sending a “true threat,” since there doesn’t appear to be any chance he really intended to carry out what he said in the tweet.
Even still, “the government must take seriously all threats against a major presidential candidate such as Ms. Bachmann, unless and until it is satisfied that there is no likelihood that the threat was legitimate,” he wrote.
Regardless of the potential legal ramifications going forward, Lamberth strongly chided on the man for his tweets, calling them “extremely rude and in almost incomprehensibly poor taste.”
“More offensive than even Mr. X’s chosen vocabulary is the pathetic transparency and vapidity of his attempt to elicit the attention of the Internet that he surely lacks in real life,” Lamberth wrote. “Readers are free, though ill-advised, to form their own opinions of Mr. X’s output on their own free time.”
[h/t Washington Post]
Devin Henry can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @dhenry