Syracuse man found guilty of making death threats against former President Barack Obama

Local News

A Federal Court Jury convicted a Syracuse man yesterday of making death threats by phone towards former President Barack Obama and Congresswoman Maxine Waters.

Stephen J. Taubert, 61, was convicted of threatening to kill a former President of the United States, transmitting a threat via interstate commerce, and threatening to murder a member of Congress with intent to impede, interfere with, or retaliate against a member of Congress during and because of her performance of official duties.

The verdict followed a three-day trial in federal court in Syracuse, New York. 

Prosecutors presented evidence that on June 2, 2017, Taubert made multiple phone calls to the Washington D.C. office of then Minnesota Senator Al Franken. In two of those calls, Taubert stated that he was planning to go to Washington D.C. the next day to “hang” former President Obama at his home and to kill him. In making these threats, Taubert repeatedly used  racial slurs directed toward former President Obama.

They also presented evidence showing that on July 20, 2018, Taubert called the Los Angeles, California district office of Congresswoman Maxine Waters and stated that he would be at every event the Congresswoman attended and that he would kill her and every member of her staff. In making these threats, Taubert directed racial slurs toward Congresswoman Waters and her staff.

During the trial, prosecutors presented a recorded interview of Taubert, during which he made racist statements and an admission that he called Congresswoman Waters’ office to “terrorize” her in retaliation for public statements she had made.

The jury returned guilty verdicts on all three counts. The jury also found that Taubert selected his victims because of their race, color, or ethnicity, showing hate crime motivation.

Taubert is scheduled to be sentenced on July 24, 2019, and faces up to 10 years in prison on the retaliation count and up to five years on each of the other two counts. 

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