An Arkansas man was arrested on election day after being accused of issuing horrific death threats against CNN’s Don Lemon, including one threat in which he reportedly asked to be directed to Lemon’s “dead body hanging from a tree.”
According to the Baxter Bulletin, Benjamin Craig Matthews, 39, is facing multiple charges in the case, including five felony counts of terroristic threatening, nine misdemeanor counts of harassing communications and four misdemeanor counts of second-degree terroristic threatening.
Matthews is currently being held in Baxter County Jail on $15,000 bond.
His alleged threatening campaign began on Oct. 31, when Matthews is accused of calling the network three times. In one of those calls, Matthews allegedly threatened to beat up Lemon. On another, he was reportedly verbally abusive to an operator.
The next day, Matthews made six calls within 23 minutes. It was in one of those calls that Matthews asked about being directed to Lemon’s “dead body hanging from a tree.”
In another call during that time frame, Matthews allegedly asked the operator to help kill the CNN anchor.
On Nov. 2, Matthews allegedly made another six calls, again within 23 minutes. In three of those calls Matthews allegedly asked for his calls to be directed to “pipe bombs for Don Lemon.”
In total, Matthews is accused of making more than 40 calls to CNN headquarters.
According to the Baxter Bulletin, an Atlanta Police Department investigator assigned to the Department of Homeland Security tracked the phone used to make the threats back to Matthews, and then reached out to Baxter County Sheriff’s Office.
An investigator with the Sheriff’s Office then picked up the case and was able to speak to an individual familiar with the case who was able to identify Matthews’ voice in recordings that were made of the threatening calls.
Further investigation by the Atlanta Police Department investigator uncovered that Matthews also allegedly made calls to Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), attorney Michael Avenatti, the Washington Speakers Bureau and Planned Parenthood.
An affidavit stated that the calls made by Matthews appeared to display a pattern of harassment based on political beliefs.
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