Georgia man gets prison for letter threatening president

Nov 30, 2022, 7:18 PM | Updated: Dec 1, 2022, 10:13 am

MACON, Ga. (AP) — A Georgia man has been sentenced to serve nearly three years in federal prison for sending a letter threatening to kill President Joe Biden and to blow up the White House, prosecutors said Thursday.

Travis Ball, of Barnesville, was ordered Wednesday to spend two years and nine months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, and also to pay a $7,500 fine, the office of U.S. Attorney Peter Leary said in a news release. Ball, 56, had previously pleaded guilty to making threats against the president.

Ball sent letters using someone else’s name to a variety of local and county government offices and officials, including judges and law enforcement officers, in March 2021. The FBI began investigating and Ball was identified as a suspect after a threat letter signed with the same name and containing a white powdery substance was received at the federal courthouse in Macon, prosecutors said.

Federal agents served a warrant at Ball’s home on March 23, 2021. Among other items, they seized a stack of notebook paper that matched the threat letters. The top page had indents from writing, and when investigators used a pencil to lightly shade the page, they discovered that it was a letter dated March 8, 2021, that contained an explicit threat against Biden, including a threat to blow up the White House and kill everyone inside, the release says.

The letter was turned over to the Secret Service after it was received on March 30, 2021, by the White House mail sorting facility.

“Sending death threats and purported anthrax is not protected speech — it is a crime,” Leary said in the release.

Ball had previously been convicted of felony hoax threats after sending letters containing a white powdery substance and threats to “kill all of you” to the State Bar of Georgia and Atlanta newspapers in 2016. He was sentenced in June 2017 to serve two years in prison followed by three years of supervised release.

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