The Independent reports that Daniel Frisiello of Beverly, Massachusetts, has been sentenced to five years’ probation for sending President Donald Trump’s sons and other high-profile individuals threatening letters with white powder.
United States District Court Judge Nathaniel Gorton in Boston made the ruling and determined that one year of probation be served in home detention with location monitoring, and restitution, per ABC News. In addition, Frisiello is banned from accessing the internet or sending mail without approval for the entire duration of his probation. He also won’t be able to possess a tablet, computer, or other devices that can access the internet.
“Do not underestimate how serious I am treating your crimes.”
Frisiello, 25, admitted to sending envelopes filled with white powder to Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, as well as other high-profile individuals between 2015 to 2018. Although the substance was harmless, U.S. authorities are on alert since the 2001 incident where anthrax-laced envelopes were sent to U.S. lawmakers and media outlets, which caused five deaths.
The letter that Frisiello sent to Trump Jr. said that he is “an awful, awful person, I am surprised that your father lets you speak on TV.”
Frisiello also targeted Senator Debbie Stabenow, actor Anthony Sabato Jr, and police chiefs and prosecutors that manage and oversee cases that Frisiello opposed. His lawyers asked for five years’ probation and highlighted Frisiello’s autism and developmental disabilities, which they said provide “context to understand the genesis of his crimes and to gauge the degree of his moral culpability.”
Federal prosecutors in Boston sought a 3 year jail sentence, but the judge took into consideration the defendant's mental health claims. https://t.co/fI0eOR5v1k
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) April 20, 2019
Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott Garland argued for a three-year prison sentence, highlighting Frisiello’s careful consideration of the letter writing campaign, which consisted of 13 letters over three years. Garland claimed that Frisiello researched all of the best addresses and took appropriate steps to avoid detection, including dropping them off at different mailboxes.
“This was not an impulsive thing. At every step, there was a chance for deliberation.”
But Frisiello lawyer’s William Fick argued that his client suffered from significant developmental issues due to brain damage at birth, an anxiety disorder, and autism. He highlighted the 90 letters of support written to the judge on Frisiello’s behalf and said that it was “tragic” that no one who knew his client was able to intervene before his previously harmless obsession with writing letters to celebrities became a darker hobby.
“He clearly felt like he wasn’t being heard, so he became threatening.”
ABC News reports that since the anthrax letters, hoaxes involving white powder have become common.