- Associated Press - Thursday, April 14, 2016

LAS VEGAS (AP) - A Nevada man has pleaded guilty to federal charges that he threatened the life of President Barack Obama and other government officials, and urged others on Facebook to join him.

Tyrone Paul Ponthieux, 56, pleaded guilty Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Las Vegas to posting online threats against the president in 2014, and to making verbal threats against officials, including an FBI agent assigned to his case, during a jailhouse telephone conversation last September.

Ponthieux’s attorney, William Gamage, didn’t immediately respond Thursday to messages seeking comment. Gamage had said Ponthieux’s statements might be protected First Amendment speech.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that U.S. District Judge Andrew Gordon ordered Ponthieux freed from jail but detained at home with electronic monitoring pending sentencing on July 20.

He faces a possible sentence of 15 years and $500,000 in fines on the two charges, plus up to three years of supervised release, according to a plea agreement filed with the court.



The document says Ponthieux also surrendered two handguns, four rifles and a shotgun seized during his arrest in June. Officials said the weapons were legally owned.

He also agreed to cooperate with prosecutors and testify about any other people involved in offenses against the federal government.

According to the criminal complaint, Ponthieux used the name Cyclone on Facebook, where he was depicted holding an AR-15 assault-style rifle as he sat on the front bumper of a black Hummer.

Court records say an expletive-filled post in November 2014 called for people to “get our guns and shoot all of these out of control congressmen and senators and Obama!”

Ponthieux acknowledged threatening to harm the FBI agent and others he blamed for his prosecution during a profanity-laced jail telephone call recorded in September.

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