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Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Man sentenced for phone call anti-Semitic threats (USA)

A brain-injured man was sentenced to five years of supervised federal court probation Tuesday for making anti-Semitic phone threats to burn down the home of former University of Oregon President David Frohnmayer.
Assistant Oregon U.S. Attorney Frank Papagni joined Gregory Paul Freeman’s defense lawyer in recommending the relatively light sentence because Freeman has had diminished mental capacity since he was struck by a train while intoxicated in 2005.
According to Papagni and federal public defender Craig Weinerman, Freeman made the threatening calls to Frohnmayer and allegedly to several other victims after consuming alcohol, which interacted with his anti-seizure medication.
Frohnmayer, who is not Jewish, has said in the past that he nonetheless took the threats seriously.
Freeman, 56, was convicted in December on a single charge of using a telephone to threaten arson. He had never before been convicted of a crime.
He agreed not to challenge facts alleged by the government in the Frohnmayer case, in exchange for no charges being filed in connection with similar threatening messages he phoned to a Eugene Planned Parenthood clinic, the Eugene Masonic Lodge and to his former psychiatrist.
In court Tuesday, Papagni told Freeman he should “take great comfort” in knowing that his victims’ compassion helped keep him out of jail.
Though none chose to appear at the sentencing, all supported the probationary sentence because of Freeman’s mental circumstances, the prosecutor said.
Papagni also noted Freeman’s compliance with a “no alcohol” condition of his pretrial release. Given that he will continue to be closely monitored under court probation, Freeman should pose little risk of making future threats, the prosecutor said.
“As long as he continues not to drink and has no contact with (the victims), he should be free to live his life as he wishes,” Papagni told U.S. District Judge Michael Hogan, who imposed the recommended sentence.
According to court records, Freeman told a court risk and treatment evaluator that drinking exacerbated his “impulsive expression of his negative attitudes toward authority figures” and “individuals of certain faith and political persuasion.”
According to an FBI agent’s sworn statement to obtain an arrest warrant for Freeman last year, the messages included statements such as “Listen, you Jews” and “I’m going to burn your abortion clinic down because you are a baby killer and you hate babies.”