A Fresno State University professor who tweeted that President Donald Trump “must hang,” in February, is reportedly under investigation by the Secret Service. The history alleged that President Trump is a threat to American democracy.
It was reported that the liberal California professor, Lars Maischak, caused outrage after his tweets spread online. In a series of several tweets, Maischak called for President Trump and other Republicans to be assassinated.
“To save American democracy, Trump must hang. The sooner and the higher, the better,” Maischak tweeted in February.
Federal agents are now investigating Maischak for his controversial comments, according to Fresno State University President Joseph Castro. He told a local newspaper that he has been in touch with officials from the Secret Service, FBI, and Homeland Security after Maischak’s tweets were discovered last week.
However, as of now, it is not clear what law federal authorities think the German-born professor of European and US history, broke. One option that may be on the table is a Class E felony, threatening the president of the US.
Regardless of the crime Maischak may be charged with, prosecutors are likely to face a tough battle. It is widely acknowledged that courts tend to interpret the First Amendment pretty broadly. One example of such a case being overturned would be the 1969 Supreme Court case, Watts vs. United States. A man who allegedly threatened President Lyndon B. Johnson at a rally, had his conviction overturned by Justices. He had said: “I am not going [to Vietnam]. If they ever make me carry a rifle the first man I want to get in my sights is L.B.J.””
At the time, Justices believed that the statement was a “crude political hyperbole which, in light of its context and conditional nature, did not constitute a knowing and willful threat against the President.”
Earlier this week, in a written statement given to the Fresno Bee, Maischek apologized for his comments, adding that he had deleted his Twitter account since his tweets went viral.
“I apologize for the tone and content of my statements made on Twitter. I ask forgiveness of those who felt threatened or offended by them,” he wrote. “It was never my intent to harm anyone, nor to encourage others to harm anyone.”
“My statements each represent the end point of a dark train of thought triggered by my despair over the actions of the present U.S. government,” Maischak explained.