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A West Virginia man who threatened Dr. Anthony Fauci and his family was sentenced to more than three years in prison.
Thomas Patrick Connally Jr., 57, will serve 37 months in a federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release for encrypted emails sent to the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the Justice Department said.
Connally confessed in a plea agreement that he was responsible for sending unsolicited emails to Fauci for a nearly seven-month period that ended in late July 2021. One of those messages said that along with his family, Fauci, 81, would be “dragged into the street, beaten to death, and set on fire.”
On one night in April 2021, Connally send more than a half-dozen late-night messages to the nation’s top immunologist.
“Threats like these will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” said Erek Barron, U.S. attorney for the District of Maryland.
Fauci was said to have been one of several health officials menaced by Connally. The threats came at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, when lockdowns were widely in effect. Fauci had become a pariah to many conspiracy theorists who faulted the Brooklyn native for relaying information that didn’t jibe with their alternative views.
“What you’re seeing as attacks on me, quite frankly, are attacks on science,” Fauci told MSNBC in June 2021.