A Virginia man who sent harassing and intimidating emails directed toward Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum and his family pleaded guilty to cyberstalking, announced U.S. Attorney Trent Shores.
Adam Maxwell Donn, 41, of Norfolk, Virginia, appeared today in federal court via video conferencing. At his hearing, the defendant admitted that he sent Mayor Bynum and his wife 44 emails and left 14 voicemails from June 11 through June 22, 2020, that were meant to harass, annoy, threaten and intimate the Bynum family. He also admitted that the threatening messages made numerous references to Bynum’s children and their home address. Donn believed the threats would coerce Bynum into canceling President Donald Trump’s campaign rally scheduled for June 20, 2020.
“Cyberstalking can be a terrifying ordeal for victims. Adam Donn’s incessant harassment and threats to both the Mayor and his family more than crossed the line. They haven’t protected speech; they were criminal acts,” said U.S. Attorney Trent Shores. “Today, Mr. Donn admitted his guilt and will now face the possibility of federal prison time when sentenced. The Tulsa Police and FBI really did some top-notch investigative work on this case. They identified the cyberstalker, protected the victims from harm, and ultimately arrested Mr. Donn in Virginia.”
“The United States charged Adam Donn with stalking, harassing, intimidating, and inflicting emotional distress upon Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum and his family. Mr. Donn allegedly sent a series of harassing emails and voicemails in an effort to intimidate the mayor into canceling the presidential rally that occurred here in June,” said U.S. Attorney Trent Shores. “Cyberstalkers try to hide behind keyboards while they threaten and intimidate others, but their online actions have real-world effects. Mr. Donn will now face the real world consequences for his alleged criminal actions. As we do in all cases, our victim coordinators will work with the mayor and his family as this case proceeds in federal court.”
Bynum, concerned for his family’s safety, reported the emails and calls to the Tulsa Police Department on June 18, 2020. According to the affidavit filed by an FBI agent, investigators found that the emails were linked to an IP address traced to a Cox Communications account holder named Adam Donn of Norfolk, Virginia, and that his email addresses were used to send the intimidating emails to Mayor Bynum and his wife.
Court documents allege that Donn threatened to publish the Bynum family’s home address and personal information to the internet, including the children’s cell phone numbers and social media accounts. The defendant allegedly said this with the hope that people would encroach upon the Bynum residence with the intent to cause Mayor Bynum harm and emotional distress. Another email was sent on June 19, 2020, when Donn allegedly stated he hoped Bynum’s family contracted Covid-19 and hoped the family suffered. Donn further stated he would possibly show up to Bynum’s next bible study, and on another occasion, asked the mayor’s wife if she would be home later so the he could meet her at her house. Lastly, a voicemail received by the mayor’s wife from the defendant allegedly stated the street she lived on and asked if she still lived there “before his guys made a delivery.”
The affidavit also alleged that Donn masqueraded as the mayor’s wife and sent emails to her colleagues via her business website. In those emails, he allegedly stated that recipients should send the messages on to the mayor’s wife, and if they didn’t, he would show up at their office. The emails also stated that he had COVID and would come visit.
U.S. District Judge Claire V. Eagan accepted Donn’s plea and set sentencing for Jan. 25, 2021. The date could potentially be accelerated.
Initial charges were filed against Donn in July. You can find the press release here.
The Tulsa Police Department and FBI conducted the investigation. U.S. Attorney Trent Shores and Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Nassar are prosecuting the case.