A man who was arrested after sending threatening tweets to Republican senators and members of Congress has been banned from using Twitter by a federal judge.
Kyler Schmitz posted the tweets on Monday in response to the mass shooting that took place in an Orlando nightclub earlier this month. One of the threatening messages, directed at Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., wrote: “I’m going to shoot you in the head for allowing someone to murder my loved ones.”
Schmitz, who worked as an Uber driver, was later detected in the Washington, D.C., area by an automated license plate reader, the Washington Examiner reports. He was taken into custody soon after he had been spotted.
Schmitz was charged in Virgina’s Eastern District Court with making threats against two senators, and banned from using Twitter. The social media account belonging to the 27-year-old has since been suspended.
Judge Theresa Buchanan also ordered Schmitz to stay away from the District, and to receive mental health training. He was not, however, banned from using the Internet altogether due to his job as an Uber driver. The ride-hailing service has since cut Schmitz off from driving after learning about the allegations.
The other tweets he reportedly sent before his arrest included a message to the National Rifle Association inquiring about purchasing a gun, according to court documents. Schmitz’s ban remains in place throughout the duration of the trial, and could result in permanent suspension from social media.
Schmitz’s fiancé claims that his tweets were meant as satire. “It wasn’t him as a real person,” Paul Cianciolo told NBC4. “It was a creative outlet.” His attorney also maintained that the messages were meant as parodies, and “inartful political discourse” on the issue of gun control.
Cianciolo added that the couple plan to defend Schmitz in court, with reports claiming that the First Amendment could be raised in order to challenge the Twitter ban.
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