A Kerrville man has been sentenced for five years in federal prison for writing letters in 2016 threatening to kill President Barack Obama.
Court documents show that 22-year-old Gavin Friedman specifically wrote he was "going to kill" Obama for being a "puppet for (ZOG) Zionist Organized Government." In one of his letters to the White House, he explained his reasoning behind killing the sitting president: Friedman wanted to be "martyred in the name of Allah."
Friedman was also charged with threatening to blow up the White House and the FBI field office in Houston — and threatening to kill a U.S. attorney and kidnap the attorney's family.
In a February letter to the court, Friedman said he was guilty of all charges, and that he wanted the Department of Justice to help connect him to mental health treatment.
"I am seeking help from long and distressing life that I have lived," he wrote.
Before his federal arrest, Friedman was arrested in 2013 by the Kerrville Police Department for consuming alcohol underage.
In the Wednesday hearing, U.S. District Judge David Ezra said he wanted Friedman's case to be an reminder to other courts that threats to federal officials shouldn't be ignored.
"In the past, some judges viewed this kind of conduct as less serious because their feeling was it was only a threat," Ezra said. "The fact of the matter is the world has changed dramatically. Dramatically. Guns are readily available and people use those guns, unfortunately. Public officials have become targets."
It's certainly in one's First Amendment rights to criticize these officials, he said. "But threats of violence are entirely another thing," Ezra said.