Man accused of threatening schools wants charges dropped

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KALISPELL, Mont. (AP) — The attorney for a 28-year-old man charged with making online threats to schools and Jewish leaders is asking that the charges be dismissed.

David Lenio was arrested in northwestern Montana in February and charged with felony intimidation and criminal defamation for tweets in which he talked about wanting to shoot up schools and synagogues. He has pleaded not guilty and is jailed on $500,000 bail.

Public defender Brent Getty filed motions Wednesday saying the laws governing both charges are unconstitutionally overbroad. Getty argued that the intimidation charge requires the threats to be directed "to an actual person," but investigators could not find a tweet that names a specific student or school.

Getty also said that Lenio's comments about Jews were hateful but that the First Amendment protects his right to make such remarks, the Missoulian reported ( ).

Kalispell Police Chief Roger Nasset said Lenio posed a "very real threat" because he had moved two rifles to his residence and had a pistol in his vehicle.

Getty also sought to suppress statements Lenio made to law enforcement officers, arguing he was taken into custody and questioned before being advised of his Miranda rights.

The case came to light when a national gun control advocate spotted tweets from Lenio, who had moved to Montana from Grand Rapids, Michigan, about six weeks before his arrest.

Ulbricht did not rule on the motions. A pretrial hearing is scheduled for May 20.


Information from: Missoulian,

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