Prosecutors drop case over Facebook threats to kill gays
WILTON MANORS, Fla. – A federal judge agreed with prosecutors on Wednesday to drop charges against a man accused of threatening on Facebook to "exterminate" gay people.
District Judge William Zloch dismissed the case against Craig Jungwirth, who had been indicted by a grand jury with interstate transmission of a threatening communication. He had faced a potential sentence of 10 to 16 months in prison.
Prosecutors had requested on Tuesday that the charges be dropped, six weeks after announcing in court that the evidence against Jungwirth was "weak," according to a report in The Sun-Sentinel.
An FBI affidavit said Jungwirth, 50, of Orlando, posted several threats on Facebook against LGBT people in Wilton Manors, Florida, which has a large gay population. In August 2016, the affidavit said, Jungwirth threatened to launch a Labor Day attack bigger than the Pulse gay nightclub shooting in Orlando that killed 49 people and wounded dozens last June.
The case was based in part on a tipster's screenshot of the Facebook post. But at a Nov. 15 federal court hearing, prosecutor Marc Anton told a judge that the evidence against Jungwirth was "weak" and circumstantial because investigators had been unable to definitively link the threat to him, even though the affidavit said the FBI was able to show that multiple threats were posted from his mother's computer.
U.S. Attorney spokeswoman Sarah Schall declined comment.