Jury convicts Tomah man of threatening life of president

Tomah man convicted of threatening president gets 3 years prison
Brian Dutcher

A Tomah man was convicted Tuesday of two counts of threatening the life of the president of the United States, according to a release.

Brian Dutcher, 55, was convicted after a two-day jury trial in U.S. District Court in Madison, officials said. The jury reached its verdict after almost five hours of deliberation.

Dutcher went to La Crosse July 1 where President Barack Obama was scheduled to make a speech the next day, officials said. Dutcher approached a security guard at the La Crosse Public Library and said he knew the president was in town and that he would shoot the president if given the opportunity.

Dutcher also posted “Thursday I will be in La Crosse. Hopefully I get a clear shot at the pretend president. Killing him is our CONSTITUTIONAL DUTY!” on his Facebook page June 30, officials said.

U.S. Attorney John Vaudreuil said, “The defendant threatened to kill the president because he disagrees with the president’s policies. The defense contended at trial that these threats were ‘merely political hyperbole.’ By their verdict, the jury rejected this argument. While dissent and political discourse are protected speech under the First Amendment and the bedrock of democracy, a threat is not protected speech. When the line is crossed from political disagreement to threatening the life of the president, those who make the threats will be prosecuted and convicted.”

Dutcher will be sentenced March 15. He faces a maximum of five years in federal prison on both counts.