ANNAPOLIS, Md. – A criminal complaint has been filed charging Justin Kuchta, age 39, of Annapolis, Maryland, with a federal charge for sending messages over the Internet that threatened to injure a United States Member of Congress. The complaint was filed on September 6, 2022 and unsealed today. Kuchta is expected to have an initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Baltimore today at 2:30 p.m. before Chief U.S. Magistrate Judge Beth P. Gesner.
The criminal complaint was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron; Chief J. Thomas Manger of the United States Capitol Police; and Colonel Woodrow W. Jones III, Superintendent of the Maryland State Police.
“You have the right to your own opinions, but not the right to threaten a federal official’s life,” said United States Attorney for the District of Maryland, Erek L. Barron. “We’ll continue prosecuting these threats to the fullest extent of the law.”
According to the affidavit filed in support of the criminal complaint, Kuchta made threats to murder a U.S. Member of Congress. The affidavit alleges that a U.S. Member of Congress’ district office in Texas reported that on July 18, 2022, it received a threatening message via an event management website. The message stated “Thank you for the address!!! I’m coming to murder all of you Satanist f*ckers!!! Especially the chuckle-f*ck Zodiak [sic] Killer [Member of Congress 1]!! That fat fake f*cker ass will be the first on the gallows!! SEE ALL OF YOU F*CKERS REALLY SOON!!! With my fresh militia and weapons!!! Thanks for the info f*ckers!!!” According to the affidavit, the Member of Congress’ Washington office reported that a similar message was sent on July 22, 2022, using the same event management website.
As detailed in the affidavit, an investigation revealed that the IP address was registered to a private high-speed network operated by the State of Maryland. Network records revealed that the IP address originated from a Virtual Private Network and computer assigned to Kuchta. Kuchta was subsequently interviewed by Special Agents with the U.S. Capitol Police at his place of employment in Annapolis, Maryland.
If convicted, Kuchta faces a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison for interstate communication containing a threat to injure. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
A criminal complaint is not a finding of guilt. An individual charged by criminal complaint is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.
United States Attorney Erek L. Barron commended the United States Capitol Police and the Maryland State Police for their work in the investigation.
Mr. Barron thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas M. Sullivan, who is prosecuting the federal case.