A man who was arrested for making a shockingly violent threat to kill “any and every” Muslim is now using the fact that he binge-watches Fox News as a defense for his actions.
According to the Huffington Post, on January 14 in 2015, a California man named John David Weissinger called the San Diego office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, an organization designed to protect the rights of Muslims living in the United States. Weissinger left a drunken voicemail for the CAIR office, laden with serious death threats against those who practice Islam.
Weissinger claimed that Muslims would be proven wrong after the second coming of Jesus Christ, who would render their faith and holy book meaningless.
Did Binge-Watching Fox News Inspire This Man To Threaten Muslims?: On Jan. 14, 2015, John David Weissinger cal… https://t.co/N0WRPEhDxt
— Θρασύμαχος (@WorldIllum) January 22, 2016
But, specifically, John David Weissinger was claiming to be planning attack on those working for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, saying that he would lead a shooting similar to the Charlie Hebdo massacre on a French satirical magazine.
“One day you’re gonna wake up and it’s gonna be a big big incident. You’re gonna be in the news. It’s gonna be like Charlie Hebdo. Guess what. It’s coming your way motherf***ers.”
You can hear Weissinger make his threats in the audio file below, but be warned that it’s full of hate speech and profanity.
Apparently, the voicemail alone wasn’t enough for John Weissinger to get his point across. After the phone call, he sent an email to CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper. This time, the threats became much more personal. Weissinger seemed to suggest that he, himself, would be arriving with firearms to kill Muslims working in the CAIR office.
“I’ll show up any day, any time with plenty of firepower to kill any and every one of you f***ers,” John David Weissinger wrote. “It’s coming your way and Hell is coming with it.”
When Hooper reported the threats to the San Diego police, officers recovered an illegal AR-15 assault weapon and illegal ammunition in Weissinger’s home.
#InTheNews: John David Weissinger, 53, to stand trial for making a criminal threat and hate crime allegations: http://t.co/F7YcfdN6vd
— SD District Attorney (@SDDistAtty) April 8, 2015
In August, John David Weissinger pleaded guilty to the charges of making a criminal threat and possessing an illegal firearm. The violent messages he sent were classified hate crimes. But the most unusual thing about Weissinger’s threats is how his lawyer used Fox News as a defense.
Weissinger faced a sentencing hearing this past Tuesday, at which his attorney blamed the disturbing threats on the fact that John David Weissinger had been watching a lot of Fox News at the time he sent the threats. While he didn’t imply Fox News reporters encouraged Weissinger to kill Muslims, he claimed the crimes were provoked by “a week of watching Fox News over and over.”
The lawyer, Michael Malowney, clarified that this wasn’t a “lame excuse” for inexcusable crimes, but emphasized that John David Weissinger was already struggling with depression and anxiety, so a week of binge-watching the “Islamophobic” sentiments on Fox News (plus an excess of alcohol) pushed him over the edge.
“Fox News is a hate machine, spewing out horrible things [about Muslims]” said Malowney.
The attorney was attempting to request a more lenient sentence for John David Weissinger, claiming he’s actually a good man who was simply influenced by the “hate” of Fox News. But, according to Vox, the judge rejected the defense and sentenced Weissinger to a year in prison and five years probation. However, he actually agreed with the basic idea behind the lawyer’s argument.
“‘I was under the influence of Fox News’ isn’t a defense. But Islamophobia on cable news is indeed out of control.”
Fox News was approached for comment about the bizarre defense but did not respond.
Do you think the lawyer’s assessment of Fox News is accurate or unfair?
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