Benjamin Matthews was charged with threatening to kill CNN host Don Lemon.
Atlanta investigators say Matthews, a 39-year-old resident of Baxter County, Arkansas, is in custody after police said he made more than three dozen harassing phone calls to CNN, Arkansas’ Fox 16 reports.
In one call, Matthews allegedly threatened to “kick the [expletive] out of DL.”
“Could I be directed to DL’s dead body hanging from a tree?” investigators said Matthews asked in another call.
On November 1, authorities say he called the station to ask, “Is DL dead yet? Can you help me kill that [redacted]?”
The Baxter County Sheriff’s Office said that Matthews called the network more than 40 times over three days. The calls included general harassment as well as death threats.
The Atlanta Police Department’s Homeland Security Department notified the Baxter Sheriff’s Office about the calls, which came from Matthews’ cell phone, according to the report.
Fox 16 reports that investigators discovered that Matthews had contacted another television network, as well as public officials. He was taken into custody on November 6.
Matthews was charged with five felony counts of terroristic threats, four misdemeanor counts of terroristic threats, and nine misdemeanor counts of harassment. He is being held at the Baxter County Detention Center. His bond was set at $15,000.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Benjamin Matthews’ Threats Follow Mail Bomb Sent to CNN
GettyMail bombing suspect Cesar Sayoc.
Benjamin Matthews’ arrest comes just weeks after Cesar Sayoc was arrested in Florida and charged with sending explosive devices through the mail to CNN and top Democratic officials and liberal pundits. Sayoc, 56, is accused of sending homemade explosive devices to the offices of CNN, as well as to liberal billionaire donor George Soros, former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and her husband Bill, the home of Barack and Michelle Obama, former Attorney General Eric Holder, actor Robert DeNiro, and others.
CNN was forced to evacuate after receiving the package, which had been sent to John Brennan, even though he works as a pundit at MSNBC. Another bomb was reportedly sent to CNN’s Atlanta headquarters.
A van said to belong to Sayoc was seen on camera after his arrest emblazoned with a number of pro-Trump images as well as targets over the faces of Hillary Clinton, filmmaker Michael Moore, 2016 Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein, and CNN contributor Van Jones, who was pictured next to a sticker saying “Dishonest Media: CNN Sucks.” Sayoc’s social media posts included videos of him attending Trump rallies and a number of pro-Trump memes.
2. Death Threats Come as Trump White House Bans CNN Journalist
Jim Acosta in tense exchange with President Trump at White House.
Benjamin Matthews’ arrest comes the same week as President Trump’s war with CNN intensified to peak levels. On Wednesday, Trump got into a heated exchange with CNN correspondent Jim Acosta during a White House news conference.
Acosta questioned Trump about his “demonization” of immigrants, which Trump bristled at before trying to move on to another reporter. “That’s enough,” Trump told Acosta.
The CNN reporter …read more