A Reno man was sentenced to prison for six to fifteen years after sending threatening and racist tweets to politicians, legislative staff, and the Nevada Attorney General. A jury convicted Matthew Carter guilty of three charges of aggravated stalking and one count of harassment after a week-long trial in August 2022.
The tweeting started on August 1, 2020, when the Nevada Legislature summoned a special session and approved mail-in ballots.
“I wonder what will happen when you try to get your ballot out of the mailbox?” one tweet said, addressed to Assemblywoman Leslie Cohen.
Assemblyman Steve Yeager said that he received a number of threatening tweets, including the following: “Prepare your family, you’ll be dead in two weeks.”
“(The tweets) were increasingly hostile and threatening. They were increasingly, I think race based. I saw references to slavery, references to a noose,” former Nevada Assemblyman Jason Frierson testified.
The tweets came from two multiple accounts. According to investigators, after Twitter took down those accounts, several more were created, and the harassing and threatening tweets continued.
After employees and politicians reported the tweets to police, detectives from the Nevada Attorney General’s Office and the Nevada Division of Investigations at the Nevada Department of Public Safety used Twitter subpoenas to trace out the source of the tweets.
Investigators were able to confirm the IP address from which the tweet was sent, as well as a mobile phone number linked with the account, which belonged to Carter. When investigators initially contacted him in 2020, he admitted that those accounts were his. Carter has never openly confirmed posting the tweets.
Carter was arrested and detained for more than ten months after Nevada State Police Lt. Orlando Guerra testified that he visited the investigators’ and Attorney General’s offices. Carter’s attorney stated that he was trying to reclaim his phone and other gadgets that had been taken by police.
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