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Calif. man apologizes for threatening to kill Globe employees last year

Robert D. Chain left federal court in Boston after an appearance in September 2018.
Robert D. Chain left federal court in Boston after an appearance in September 2018. Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff/File

The California man who pleaded guilty in May to federal charges he threatened to kill employees of the Globe has apologized for his actions.

In a Wednesday letter addressed “To those I have harmed,” Robert Chain said he could not believe he “said those hateful and disgusting things.”

“To the young people I harmed, I can only say, I am sorry,” Chain said in the letter. “I am sorry. I am sorry.”

Chain said that as odious as his words were, he never intended to harm Globe employees or anyone else.

“I was an angry and depressed 67-year-old man sitting in his home in California making phone calls to the Globe and spewing vile words at whoever answered,” he said in his letter. “I never planned for one moment to act on anything I said.”


In about 14 calls to the Globe’s newsroom last August, Chain repeatedly vowed to attack journalists on behalf of President Trump, a Republican who has denounced news organizations as the “enemy of the people.”

Chain’s threats included: “You are the enemy of the people and we are going to shoot you all.” “You are the enemy of the people. We will hunt you down and kill you and your dogs.” “We’re gonna shoot you [expletive] in the head, you Boston Globe [expletive]. We’re gonna shoot every [expletive] one of you.”

Chain began calling the Globe on Aug. 10, 2018, and continued until the FBI’s SWAT team arrested him Aug. 30, 2018, at his Encino, Calif., home, where they discovered 20 firearms, including a semiautomatic rifle he had purchased in May 2018, records show.

Chain was indicted on seven counts of use of interstate and foreign commerce to transmit a threat to injure another person based on the calls to the Globe’s main newsroom telephone line. Court records include partial transcripts of his comments, which often included expletives and lewd language directed at Globe employees.


In his letter, Chain, who is now 69, claimed he was not a racist, misogynist, nor “even a rabid Trump supporter.”

While saying he was not trying to dodge accountability for his actions, he said he was not the same person after his youngest son’s suicide about six years ago.

“Without realizing it, I got angry and depressed,” he said. “I was angry at the world, but mostly I was angry at myself.”

He continued, “When I made those phone calls to the Globe, I had sunk to a low point of anger and self-loathing and I just picked up the phone and began taking it out on others — on you. Once again, I am ashamed of that and very, very sorry. Doug’s loss is not an excuse for what I did to you.”

Chain is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 23. He could face between 10 and 21 months in prison.

John R. Ellement and Gal Tziperman Lotan of Globe staff contributed to this report. Danny McDonald can be reached at daniel.mcdonald@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @Danny__McDonald.