A jury in federal court in Madison found a Tomah man guilty of threatening the life of President Obama.
The trial for 55-year-old Brian Dutcher ended Tuesday afternoon with guilty verdicts on two counts of threatening the president.
On July 1, the day before President Obama was scheduled to speak in La Crosse, Dutcher made comments to a security guard at the La Crosse Public Library that he was in town to shoot the president.
The day before, June 30, Dutcher also made a threat on Facebook to shoot President Obama. The post read, “that’s it! Thursday I will be in La Crosse. Hopefully I will get a clear shot at the pretend president. Killing him is our CONSTITUTIONAL DUTY!”
United States Attorney John Vaudreuil, who prosecuted the trial against Dutcher, said in a statement following the verdict, “The defendant threatened to kill the President because he disagrees with the President’s policies. The defense contended at trial that these threats were ‘merely political hyperbole.’ By their verdict, the jury rejected this argument. While dissent and political discourse are protected speech under the First Amendment and the bedrock of democracy, a threat is not protected speech. When the line is crossed from political disagreement to threatening the life of the President, those who make the threats will be prosecuted and convicted.”
With the convictions, Dutcher faces up to five years in federal prison on each count.
Sentencing is scheduled for March 15.