David Joseph Lenio, Charged With Threatening To Kill Jews & Shoot Schoolkids, Strikes A Deal With Prosecutor & Won't Go To Trial
Man Facing Ten Years In Prison For Alleged Twitter Threats Gets Deferment, Won't Face Charges If He Behaves For Two Years
By Martin Hill
March 21, 2016


Today, March 21, was originally scheduled to begin the trial of David Joseph Lenio, the man who was charged with the crime of 'intimidation' in Montana. (Section 45-5-203(1), MCA.) Prosecutors alleged that Lenio threatened to kill Jews and shoot up a school.

The case had initially garnered international attention primarily because of a second charge, "criminal defamation" of Jews.

As we reported last year, on September 15, 2015, Flathead County, Montana District Judge Heidi J. Ulbricht tossed out the charge of criminal defamation against Lenio, ruling that the statute (Montana Section 45-8-212 MCA) was overbroad and unconstitutional. Montana prosecutor Stacy Boman had been rigorously seeking Lenio's conviction. The charge of intimidation against Lenio, however, had not been thrown out. [You can read all about the original charges and see all Lenio's tweets on our June 8, 2015 article here: Meet David Joseph Lenio, 9/11 Truther/Holocaust Denier being Prosecuted in Montana for 'Criminal Defamation' of Jews.]

In her ruling, Judge Ulbricht wrote, in part, "criminal defamation laws have fallen generally into disfavor among jurists over the last 50 years... In 1964, the United States Supreme Court limited the state's power to impose sanctions for criticism of public officials in criminal and civil cases and held that proof of actual malice was required in convictions under statures criminalizing defamation. Garrison v. Louisiana, 1964. Two years later, the Court held that the common crime of libel was unconstitutional Ashton v. Kentucky, (1966.) In the past decade, Washington, Kansas, Georgia, and Colorado repealed their criminal defamation/libel statutes. Although Minnesota (the source of Montana's statute), Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, and South Carolina, still have criminal defamation or libel statutes on the books, they all have been adjudicated either partically or wholly unconstitutional. Montana is one of the minority of states that still have an active criminal defamation statute... ...The statute cannot be saved through statutory surgery, The Court also will not engage in balancing the value of speech against the State's interest.. The United States Supreme Court has rejected as "startling and dangerous" a "free-floating test for First Amendment coverage..."

So Lenio only had one charge remaining, that of 'intimidation.' for the alleged online threats which he posted to twitter last year. Even some Jewish defense attorneys and commentators had surprisingly opined that the charge was overbroad and unjust, and was a violation of free speech. [See Heroic Judge Tosses Out "Criminal Defamation of Jews" Charge In Montana 12/26/15.]

The one remaining charge was deferred this week when Lenio's attorney and the prosecutor struck a deal, agreeing that if Lenio stayed out of trouble for two years the case would be dropped.

The original affidavit filed by the Montana prosecutor included the following tweets as evidence of Lenio's alleged crime:

The Missoulian reports

"David Joseph Lenio, who allegedly threatened on social media to kill local schoolchildren and Jewish leaders, will not face charges related to the threats if he steers clear of trouble for the next two years.

His public defender, Brent Getty, filed a deferred prosecution agreement Friday that would lead to a felony charge of intimidation being dropped if Lenio breaks no laws in that time. Flathead County Attorney Ed Corrigan signed off on the agreement."

The Southern Poverty Law Center's 'Hatewatch' website was in a full tizzy over the lack of prosecution. They opined:

"Jonathan Hutson, an anti-gun violence advocate who helped put together the case against David Joseph Lenio, said he believes the slap-on-the-wrist outcome is evidence of white privilege shown a defendant who comes from a wealthy family, whose father is a powerful investment banker and community leader in Michigan."

"...Without offering a public explanation, Flathead County Attorney Ed Corrigan just days ago signed off on a deferred prosecution agreement that will see the charge against Lenio dismissed in two years if he breaks no laws. The only requirement of the agreement is that Lenio must keep his attorney informed of his address.

..."The State of Montana is rearming a man who threatened to massacre school kids and religious leaders,” Hutson, the former spokesman for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, told Hatewatch. "County Prosecutor Ed Corrigan is handing Lenio his guns back and voters should hold him accountable for his preferential treatment of Lenio."

It was Hutson who early last year intercepted several of Lenio's Tweets that contained anti-Semitic and Holocaust-denying comments, along with threats to kill school children. Worried that he may be seeing precursors to another school mass-shooting, Hutson documented the contents of the Tweets and notified the FBI and state law enforcement officials. The suspect's whereabouts eventually were traced to Kalspell.

Hutson said the deal was struck without consulting members of Montana's Jewish community and a human rights group that had publicly expressed concern that Lenio's case would not eventually be presented to a jury to decide the question of guilt or innocence."

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Martin Hill is a Catholic paleoconservative and civil rights advocate. His work has been featured in the Los Angeles Daily News, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, The Orange County Register, KNBC4 TV Los Angeles, The Press Enterprise, LewRockwell.com, WhatReallyHappened.com, Infowars.com, PrisonPlanet.com, Economic Policy Journal, TargetLiberty.com, FreedomsPhoenix, Haaretz, TMZ, Veterans Today, Jonathan Turley blog, The Dr. Katherine Albrecht Show, National Motorists Association, AmericanFreePress.net, RomanCatholicReport.com, WorldNetDaily, HenryMakow.com, OverdriveOnline.com, Educate-Yourself.org, TexeMarrs.com, Dr. Kevin Barrett's Truth Jihad radio show, Strike-The-Root.com, Pasadena Weekly, ActivistPost.com, Los Angeles Catholic Lay Mission Newspaper, KFI AM 640, IamtheWitness.com, Redlands Daily Facts, SaveTheMales.ca, BlackBoxVoting, The Michael Badnarik Show, The Wayne Madsen Report, Devvy.com, Rense.com, FromTheTrenchesWorldReport.com, BeforeItsNews.com, The Contra Costa Times, Pasadena Star News, Silicon Valley Mercury News, Long Beach Press Telegram, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, L.A. Harbor Daily Breeze, CopBlock.org, DavidIcke.com, Whittier Daily News, KCLA FM Hollywood, The Fullerton Observer, Antiwar.com, From The Trenches World Report, and many others. Archives can be found at LibertyFight.com and DontWakeMeUp.Org.

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