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Orlando Criminal Defense Lawyer > Blog > Federal Crime > Is It a Crime to Threaten Someone on Social Media?

Is It a Crime to Threaten Someone on Social Media?


Social media services like Facebook and X (the former Twitter) make it possible for individuals to share their thoughts with a worldwide audience. And while some social media executives may tout their services as committed to “free speech,” the reality is that anything you do say online can be used against you in a court of law. More to the point, you could face serious federal criminal charges for what you actually say.

Florida Grand Jury Indicts Man for Threatening Hillary Clinton on X/Twitter

For example, a federal grand jury in Jacksonville recently indicted a 57-year-old man for using his X account to make threatening posts against former first lady and secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton. According to a criminal complaint filed by a special agent with the United States Secret Service, the agency identified a post made from an X account in April 2024 that stated, in part, “I will kill you Hillary.”

The Secret Service traced the X account to the defendant. The agent said that he and his partner went to the defendant’s home to “interview” him about his post. After the agents identified themselves, the defendant allegedly replied, “Get out of here. I’ll [expletive] kill you!” At the time, the agent said the defendant had a folding knife clipped to his pants and “aggressively grabbed” his pitbull.

After a brief exchange, the defendant again told the Secret Service agents to leave his property. As the agents prepared to leave, the defendant allegedly said, “You’re lucky I didn’t shoot you.” A short time later, the manager of the RV park where the defendant lived told the Secret Service agents that the defendant “threatened to kill a resident” that had observed the encounter with the agents.

The grand jury indicted the defendant on four federal charges. The first count alleges the defendant used a means of interstate communication–X–to threaten an individual, i.e., Hillary Clinton. The second count alleges the defendant made a specific threat against a person under the protection of the Secret Service, which Clinton is as the spouse of a former president. The third and fourth counts allege the defendant committed “forcible assault” without the use of a deadly weapon against the two Secret Service agents who came to his home. The fifth and sixth counts allege the defendant made a threat against a federal official when he said he would kill the two agents.

According to a statement from the United States Attorney’s Office in Tampa, which is prosecuting this case, the defendant faces potential sentences ranging between 5 and 10 years on each of the counts described above. The defendant is being held without bail pending trial.

Contact the Joshi Law Firm Today

If you are facing any type of federal criminal charge, you could be facing serious prison time, even for non-violent offenses. So it is crucial that you work with an experienced Orlando federal crimes lawyer. Call the Joshi Law Firm, PA, today at 844-GO-JOSHI or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation.



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