Metro

Man who allegedly threatened to kill Globe employees indicted by federal grand jury

Robert Chain left court in Los Angeles with his wife, attorney Betsy Staszek Chain.
Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images
Robert Chain left court in Los Angeles with his wife, attorney Betsy Staszek Chain.

A federal grand jury has indicted a California man on charges that he threatened to shoot and kill Boston Globe journalists, calling them “the enemy of the people” in response to the newspaper’s editorial campaign denouncing President Trump’s political attacks against the press.

Grand jurors in US District Court in Boston formally indicted Robert Darrell Chain, 68, on seven counts of use of interstate and foreign commerce to transmit a threat to injure another person, US Attorney Andrew E. Lelling’s office said Tuesday.

Chain was arrested last month at his Encino, Calif., home and charged by criminal complaint. He’s currently free on $50,000 bond and slated to appear in federal court in Boston on Sept. 24.

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Chain’s wife, Betty Staszek Chain, an attorney representing her husband in the case, has not returned repeated requests for comment.

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“The seven counts charged in the indictment relate to seven separate threatening phone calls that Chain allegedly made to the Globe newsroom,” Lelling’s office said Tuesday in a statement.

The alleged threats began Aug. 10, after the newspaper’s editorial page first called on news outlets nationwide to use their opinion pages to support the free press. Authorities determined that all of the threats, some of which were recorded, were made by the same caller.

In one of the calls, on Aug. 13, the caller threatened, “We are going to shoot you [expletives] in the head . . . shoot every [expletive] one of you,” court papers said.

On Aug. 16, the day the Globe and hundreds of newspapers published editorials in support of the free press, the caller again threatened, “You’re the enemy of the people, and we’re going to kill every [expletive] one of you.”

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The caller made a reference to Robert Mueller, the former FBI director who is leading an independent investigation into the Trump political campaign team’s connections to Russian authorities, and threatened that he was “going to shoot you in the [expletive] head later today, at 4 o’clock.”

In one of the final calls, on Aug. 22, a Globe employee asked the caller why he was calling. Chain allegedly replied, “Because you are the enemy of the people . . . as long as you keep attacking the president, the duly elected president of the United States, in the continuation of your treasonous and seditious acts, I will continue to threat, harass, and annoy the Boston Globe.”

Authorities said they found 20 firearms in the home, including a semiautomatic rifle purchased in May, when an FBI SWAT team armed with military-style weapons raided Chain’s residence in late August.

Chain hasn’t been charged criminally in connection with the guns.

Lelling’s office said the charge of “making threatening communications in interstate commerce provides for a sentence of no greater than five years, one year of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the US Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.”

John R. Ellement of the Globe Staff contributed to this report.