Feds charge man with threat­en­ing jour­nal­ists

The Detroit News - - Metro - BY MARK HICKS The Detroit News Robert Snell con­trib­uted.

Fed­eral au­thor­i­ties have charged a Michi­gan man with send­ing threat­en­ing, anti-Semitic and violent mes­sages to jour­nal­ists and an elected of­fi­cial.

The FBI has been in­ves­ti­gat­ing re­ports that Lawrence Steven Bray­boy al­legedly tar­geted work­ers at The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press, ac­cord­ing to an af­fi­davit filed in U.S. Dis­trict Court this week.

Be­tween Oc­to­ber 2017 and Oc­to­ber 2018, one un­named writer re­ceived at least 65 voice­mails from the 69-year-old, and vir­tu­ally ev­ery one “con­tained sex­u­ally violent threats and/or sex­u­ally vul­gar lan­guage di­rected to­ward” him, his wife or mother, the fil­ing stated. “Bray­boy ref­er­enced Vic­tim One as a 9/11 traitor and that all traitors will be sen­tenced to death.”

In one voice­mail, au­thor­i­ties as­sert, Bray­boy threat­ened to send the writer “to Guan­tanamo Bay where we’re gonna wa­ter­board and tor­ture you, we’ll video­tape and doc­u­ment the event, you dirty lit­tle (ex­ple­tive) child mo­lest­ing, mass mur­der­ing psy­chopath.”

An­other writer re­ceived calls, emails and mes­sages from Bray­boy for years, in­clud­ing nearly 30 voice­mails be­tween Oc­to­ber 2017 and Oc­to­ber 2018, ac­cord­ing to the FBI.Bray­boy talked about his dead mother hav­ing sex with two Michi­gan law­mak­ers and “sex­ual vi­o­lence di­rected at mi­nor chil­dren” re­lated to him, the com­plaint said.

A for­mer writer re­ceived around 10 emails daily from Bray­boy over a decade as well as voice­mails men­tion­ing a sex act with his chil­dren. Even af­ter the staffer changed jobs, “Bray­boy be­gan to leave voice­mail mes­sages … at his two cur­rent places of em­ploy­ment.”

In­ves­ti­ga­tors ac­cuse Bray­boy of in­un­dat­ing an Ann Ar­bor of­fi­cial with 34 emails be­tween Oct. 5 and Nov. 2. Last month, he al­legedly sent the of­fi­cial and 80 oth­ers a mes­sage call­ing for the ex­ter­mi­na­tion of “Is­rael USA Bul­lies of the World” dur­ing a foot­ball game.

The FBI iden­ti­fied at least 12 vic­tims, al­though sev­eral oth­ers re­ceived mes­sages, ac­cord­ing to the af­fi­davit.

A spe­cial agent tracked his email ad­dress and a YouTube page at­trib­uted to the Ann Ar­bor res­i­dent, of­fi­cials re­ported.

Bray­boy ap­peared in fed­eral court Thurs­day. Dur­ing the hear­ing, Bray­boy called him­self “the Rosa Parks of 9/11 truth.”

An at­tor­ney did not im­me­di­ately re­spond to a re­quest for com­ment Thurs­day night.

Bray­boy is be­ing held with­out bond. A de­ten­tion hear­ing is sched­uled for 1 p.m. Fri­day.

His vic­tims wel­comed the de­vel­op­ment.

“I give great def­er­ence to free speech, but when Mr. Bray­boy moved from the vul­gar and vile to threat­en­ing, it was a dif­fer­ent is­sue -- par­tic­u­larly when he in­ti­mated knowl­edge of my per­sonal life and habits, and be­gan in­clud­ing those close to me in his litany of threats,” Detroit News Edi­to­rial Page Ed­i­tor Nolan Fin­ley said.

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