Jury Acquits Man Who Said He'd Pay $500 To Have ICE Agent Killed

Brandon Ziobrowski, the man who tweeted an offer to pay someone to kill an ICE agent for $500, has been acquitted.

Boston, MA – A federal jury acquitted a man on Friday who was facing charges for tweeting an offer to pay someone to kill a U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent.

Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents took 33-year-old Brandon Ziobrowski of Cambridge into custody for a threatening tweet he posted on July 2, 2018 after he solicited pledges to cover the cost of paying people to assassinate ICE agents, NBC News reported.

“I am broke but I will scrounge and literally give $500 to anyone who kills an ice agent. @me seriously who else can pledge get in on this let's make this work,” Ziobrowski tweeted using the Twitter handle @Vine_II.

On July 5, the Department of Homeland Security first noticed Ziobrowski's tweet looking for people to kill ICE agents, NECN reported.

Investigators also found more tweets, going as far back as February, which promoted violence against police.

"Guns should only be legal for shooting the police like the second amendment intended," Ziobrowski tweeted, according to NECN.

Twitter removed the post and suspended Ziobrowski’s account later in July at the request of law enforcement, NBC News reported.

Authorities said the man had also previously tweeted about wanting to "slit" the throat of U.S. Senator John McCain, according to NECN.

During the press conference announcing the charges, U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling pointed out the recent uptick in violence against police officers.

Lelling said investigators had determined that Ziobrowski’s motive was his disagreement with the mission of ICE. He also harbored a “violent dislike” for McCain and the police.

"He appears to just be some guy living in Cambridge who feels strongly on this subject," he said. "Feeling strongly about something is fine. Putting people's lives in danger is not fine."

The case was developed and investigated by the Joint Terrorism Task Force in Boston, NBC News reported.

Ziobrowski had been charged with using interstate and foreign commerce to transmit a threat to injure another, the Associated Press reported.

The now-35-year-old man was facing up to five years in prison and as much as a $250,000 fine if he had been convicted.

After the acquittal, his attorney Derege Demissie said the whole case “should never have gone this far,” the Associated Press reported.

“The government turned a tweet that was made in jest — a hyperbolic political statement — into a federal case,” Demissie said.

The defense attorney successfully argued that Ziobrowski’s comments were constitutionally-protected political speech on social media that had been “blown out of proportion” by prosecutors, according to the Associated Press.

“This is a guy who tweets about all kinds of things and says outrageous things,” he said.

But Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephanie Siegmann disagreed and said that Ziobrowski’s tweet was not free speech and protected by the First Amendment because it had crossed the line into a “true threat,” the Associated Press reported.

Judge Denise Casper told jurors before they deliberated at Ziobrowski’s trial that the central question was whether the defendant had intended to communicate a “true threat” or at least knew other people might take it that way.

The judge also told the jury that a true threat does not include “caustic” or “sharp” political attacks, which are considered protected speech under the First Amendment, according to the Associated Press.

The U.S. attorney said that the jury’s verdict would not dissuade his office from going after people who make threats against law enforcement officers, FOX News reported.

“We respect the jury’s verdict,” Lelling said. “But in this case, the defendant posted a tweet that, on its face, offered $500 to anyone who killed a federal agent. In 2019, over 100 law enforcement officers died in the line of duty. The public needs to know that, regardless of today’s verdict, we will never hesitate to prosecute apparent threats against law enforcement officers.”

Comments (111)
No. 1-28
BFDwarf
BFDwarf

Really, The same POS's that supported the "Promise Program" to end the School to Prison BS, Now want red flags. How is this not a red flag? 1st, the Parkland shooting and the Pulse Nightclub killings were a litany of failures by the Feds, local Police and even School systems. Killing a Law Enforcement Officer, just because they wear a Badge, is a Hate Crime. This Moron who would pay to harm an ICE officer, would get a free Attitude Adjustment from most of the people I know!

John Chapman
John Chapman

Amazing. People can solicit to have law enforcement officers murdered in cold blood, OFFER TO PAY THE KILLER, and not be held accountable? This is absolutely pathetic and a slap in the face to anyone who wears a badge and goes in harms way to keep other people safe.

tfort
tfort

Very good for freedom of speech. Homeland Security, FBI..... took this out of context. He used his right to go to trial and he won. The courts worked like they are supposed to work.

JBoH
JBoH

I suspect we haven't heard the last from this wanna be killer.

Imjdunc
Imjdunc

I didnt know " just kidding" was an acceptable plea

Anomie88
Anomie88

I bet if someone threatened him, the libs in Mass would be crying!

Aramovich
Aramovich

Yeah, but if he offered that much to kill a member of a protected group he'd be rotting jail or one step ahead of a lynch mob.

Jim H. - Virginia US
Jim H. - Virginia US

All I see is trash...

www.facebook.com/brandon.ziobrowski/videos/10156228282766265/

JohnPollastro
JohnPollastro

I’d like to slap that grin off that little bitches face!!!!!

Hi_estComnDenomn
Hi_estComnDenomn

I'm glad he won because people get threatened all day every day on social media. He should use more plausibly deniable language next time though.

"If someone were to offer you $500 to shoot an ice agent, would you prefer Venmo, Paypal, or straight up cash to complete the job?"

jarhead24
jarhead24

Definitely a helmet washer!

Excalibr4
Excalibr4

With juries like that, why do we even have law enforcement?

Raymelson
Raymelson

He doesn't even no his gender an the p,o,s should gotten prison time

Patriot63
Patriot63

So know it's ok to put a contract out for murder because that know would be the precedents set for future cases. What happened to the I think it was a rapper that said the same thing about Cops a couple of years ago. I think that is what caused those Cop killings of the 2 Officers that were sitting in there squad car, 2 sitting in a restaurant at the window having there lunch, the Officer that was randomly picked and shot in the head, the Officers that were shot when responding to a bogus 911 call that set them up and got shot outside the door as they arrived and there were other similar incidents. Know a hit put out on ICE Agents which will go active know that he's been released to make good on his promise.

OldVet
OldVet

Bet the verdict would have been different if the offer was to kill a judge.

bob95648
bob95648

I hate sodomites. Would definitely like to see some good Old Testament laws applied again.

Stanracer
Stanracer

The jury system is extremely flawed. It should be eliminated.

Lesstalkmoreaction
Lesstalkmoreaction

What a hateful little pooftah!

BLACKROCK
BLACKROCK

In the early 70"s Second Chance a ballistic garment company had a reward program. If an officer was saved by one of their vests and shot his assailant. The officer was offered his choice of various desirable handguns. The program was labeled as a bounty system and stopped.

RetiredSoldier05
RetiredSoldier05

So we have to wait for this hump to successfully have an officer killed before we can address this clear threat? This is not free speech; this is shouting 'fire' in a crowded theater in this age when assaults of LEOs is increasing exponentially.

sixand9
sixand9

sounds like someone who may one day 'accidentally 'step out in front of a speeding truck

IseeWhereThisIsGoing
IseeWhereThisIsGoing

Ahh yes, a great example of the peaceful left-wing part of American politics.

DocRyder
DocRyder

One can tell he is a psychopath just by looking.

DR226
DR226

This knob polisher is nothing more than an Antifa POS who preys on women and elderly at peaceful protests and rallies. If our DOJ had listed Antifa a terrorist org. this ahole would've been convicted. I also think the judge fucked up when SHE instructed the jury.

Boristhecat
Boristhecat

I'm sure we'll be hearing about more threats from this POS!

Gap Filler
Gap Filler

In today’s world there’s no telling who could or would have taken this man’s offer seriously then what?

I disagree with the jury on this one.

Gap Filler
Gap Filler

@JohnPollastro Just looking at him and in that pose, my “gaydar”, (intuitive way of detecting gays) went into high alert!

Retired CO
Retired CO

When does protected spech cross over to become terroristic threatening?