Greenbelt, Maryland – Thomas Patrick Connally, Jr., age 56, most recently of Snowshoe, West Virginia, pleaded guilty today to making threats against a federal official, specifically for sending emails threatening harm to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the current Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Connally further admitted threatening Dr. Francis Collins, the former Director of the NIH, Dr. Rachel Levine, currently the Assistant Secretary for Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, as well as a Massachusetts public health official and a religious leader.
The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron and Special Agent in Charge George Adams, Office of Investigations, Office of Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services.
According to Connally’s plea agreement, from December 28, 2020 to July 25, 2021, Connally used an anonymous email account from a provider of secure, encrypted email services based in Switzerland, to send a series of emails to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the current Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (“NIAID”) and the Chief Medical Advisor to President of the United States, threatening to harm and/or kill Dr. Fauci and members of his family. One of the emails threatened that Dr. Fauci and his family would be “dragged into the street, beaten to death, and set on fire.” On April 24, 2021 alone, Connally sent seven threatening emails starting at 10:05 p.m.
As detailed in Connally’s plea agreement, also on April 24, 2021, beginning at 9:34 p.m., Connally sent Dr. Francis Collins, the then-Director of the NIH, a series of four emails threatening Dr. Collins and his family with physical assault and death if Dr. Collins did not stop speaking about the need for “mandatory” COVID-19 vaccinations.
As stated in his plea agreement, Connally admitted that he sent the threats to Drs. Fauci and Collins with the intent to intimidate or interfere with the performance of their official duties and with the intent to retaliate against Dr. Fauci and Dr. Collins for performing their official duties, including discussing COVID-19 and its testing and prevention.
Connally also admitted sending emails threatening harm to three other individuals. Specifically, on November 24, 2020, Connally sent a series of six threatening emails to Dr. Rachel Levine, then Secretary of Health for the State of Pennsylvania, at Dr. Levine’s email account at the Pennsylvania Department of Health. The subject lines and body of the emails threatened Dr. Levine with physical violence and death. Similarly, on August 31, 2020, Connally sent an email threatening physical violence and death for a public health official in Massachusetts. Finally, on April 21, 2021, Connally sent a series of four threatening emails to four individuals who work for a religious institution in Newark, New Jersey. The four emails threatened physical violence and death to a religious leader at the institution.
Investigation revealed that the anonymous encrypted email account was associated with Connally. On July 27, 2021, law enforcement executed search warrants at Connally’s rental residence in Snowshoe, West Virginia, as well as on his vehicle seizing five Apple laptops and two cellular telephones belonging to Connally.
Connally faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison for threats against a federal official. U.S. District Judge Paula Xinis has scheduled sentencing for August 4, 2022 at 11:30 a.m.
United States Attorney Erek L. Barron commended the HHS OIG for its work in the investigation. Mr. Barron thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Rajeev R. Raghavan and Jessica C. Collins, who are prosecuting the federal case.
For more information on the Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office, its priorities, and resources available to help the community, please visit https://www.justice.gov/usao-md/community-outreach.
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