NEVADA – In a landmark case, a judge delivered the maximum sentence this afternoon to a Sun Valley man for his alarming threats directed at the Washoe County District Attorney and Washoe County Sheriff.
Nicholas Vietti, known for his critical podcasts of local politicians titled “Battle Born Marine,” unleashed a tirade of anger, profanity, and threats towards Sheriff Darin Balaam and D.A. Chris Hicks in a recorded episode around June 1, 2022. Investigators discovered that Vietti harbored violent animosity towards the two officials since a child custody case in 2015.
However, it was the explicit and menacing nature of Vietti’s words that ultimately crossed the line. In the podcast, he brazenly threatened D.A. Hicks, stating, “Mr. Hicks, you about to be a dead motherf*****, straight up. Like the guys that are coming after you, they’ve already been paid, and a lot of them, you’re never, your family is going to be spending the next hundred years trying to figure out what happened.” Vietti further threatened to slit Sheriff Balaam’s throat, and he made disturbing remarks involving sexual violence towards family members and harm to children.
District Court Judge Kathleen Drakulich handed down the verdict, sentencing Vietti on two counts of intimidation of a public officer using a threat of immediate force. He received the maximum penalty of five years in prison, taking into account the one year he has already spent in jail during the court proceedings.
During the court hearing, both D.A. Hicks and Sheriff Balaam delivered impactful victim impact statements. Sheriff Balaam expressed the chilling effects this ordeal had on him and his family, while also emphasizing the additional measures taken to ensure staff safety. D.A. Hicks thanked Vietti for his service but spoke about the terror he experienced as a father and husband, particularly due to the sexual violence threats against his wife. Hicks revealed that this case had shaken his confidence after a 21-year career and stressed the importance of holding Vietti accountable.
Given the conflict of interest involving D.A. Hicks, Carson City’s District Attorney Jason Woodbury served as the special prosecutor in this case. Reflecting on the severity of the threats, Woodbury stated in an interview, “This went well beyond offensiveness. The specificity was alarming and warranted the special attention the case got.”
While certain aspects of Vietti’s statements may be protected under freedom of speech, the line between expressing grievances and engaging in criminal acts becomes evident when personal safety and the safety of individuals associated with public officials are threatened, as outlined by Nevada law.
Credits: Fox Reno
Copyright 2022 775 Times, NV Globe. All rights reserved.
- The City of Las Vegas to Open New Park with Horse Arena in East Valley - October 2, 2023
- Reno Man Convicted of Child Abuse and Domestic Battery After Two-Day Trial - October 2, 2023
- Las Vegas Bicyclist Killed in Hit-and-Run Crash - October 2, 2023