Maryland man sentenced for threats to America’s largest LGBTQ+ rights group and several lawmakers
Author: Donald Padgett
A Maryland man was sentenced to two years in prison for sending messages threatening to “cut your throats” and “put a bullet in your head” to LGBTQ+ lawmakers and the Human Rights Campaign last year.
Adam Michael Nettina, age 34, was sentenced to two years in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release for a series of terroristic threats transmitted by interstate communications to the HRC and state delegates from Maryland and Virginia who had voiced support for the transgender community, the DOJ said in a statement released on Thursday.
While the DOJ didn’t identify HRC as the organization, a spokesperson confirmed it was the targeted advocacy group in an email to The Advocate.
Nettina left the threatening and targeted messages in the immediate aftermath of the shooting at the Covenant School in Nashville, Tenn., that took place on March 27, 2023, and left six people dead including three nine-year-old students. The deceased shooter, Aiden Hale, identified as transgender, according to authorities.
Nettina was arrested shortly after the calls and pleaded guilty to the charges in August, admitting he specifically targeted the lawmakers and HRC because they supported and advocated for the transgender community.
“This defendant targeted and threatened members of the LGBTQI+ community and their allies, instilling fear and promoting violence toward a heavily targeted community Kristen Clarke, assistant attorney general at the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, said in a statement.
According to court documents, Nettina’s voicemail to HRC on March 28, 2023, said, “We’ll cut your throats, we’ll put a bullet in your head” and “You’re going to kill us? We’re going to kill you ten times more in full.” He admitted leaving the voicemail with the intent that it would be viewed by the group as a threat. Nettina admitted he targeted the group because of the actual and perceived sexual and gender identity of the workers and people supported by the group.
“You have the right to your own opinions, but you don’t have the right to threaten the lives of those who disagree with you. As this case demonstrates, free speech does not include violent threats against others,” U.S. Attorney Erek L. Barron for the District of Maryland, said in a statement. “We’ll continue prosecuting these threats to the fullest extent of the law.”
In a statement to The Advocate, a spokesperson for HRC said, “As an organization dedicated to the full liberation and equality of the LGTBQ+ community, we see every day how the continued rise in legislative attacks and vitriol against our people can lead to physical attacks and threats of violence. We are grateful to law enforcement for acting so quickly to keep our community safe after HRC received these specific threats, and we are pleased that a sentencing has been issued. We will continue our work to call out those who spread violence, fear, and disinformation.”
Nettina faced up to five years in prison if given the maximum sentence.
Alex Cooper contributed reporting.
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Original Article on The Advocate
Author: Donald Padgett