Denver District Court Judge William Robbins dismissed the charges against Franklin Sain, a Colorado Springs man who was accused of sending several vile, profanity-laced emails, voicemails and a letter to state Rep. Rhonda Fields over her support of gun control legislation.
Rep. Fields had asked prosecutors to drop the case after she had obtained a permanent protection order against the 42-year-old Sain, The Denver Post first reported.
Rep. Fields tweeted about the outcome of the case late-Friday morning:
Sain's attorney Siddhartha Rathod also asked that the charges be dropped saying that his client's messages to Rep. Fields were admittedly offensive, but also free speech and protected under law.
“The First Amendment permits horribly offensive communications, especially to politicians, as long as they contain no threats,” Rathod said to KDVR. “Mr. Sain’s emails and voicemail to Representative Fields, while deplorable, were not threats."
Fields was the sponsor of House Bill 1224, which banned the sale of high-capacity gun magazines and limited their maximum capacity to 15 bullets, andHouse Bill 1229 which requires universal background checks for all gun sales and transfers in the state -- both of which were signed into law by Gov. John Hickenlooper in March.
When Denver Police detectives interviewed Sain back in February when the racist, violent messages first surfaced, Sain admitted to sending messages to Fields and to using profanity and "racist names," but also said, "I didn't threaten her," according to the police affidavit.
Sain was the chief operating officer at Englewood, Colo.-based information technology company SofTec Solutions before the allegations arose. The company later suspended and then fired Sain.
9News obtained Sain's arrest affidavit revealing the full scope of threats allegedly left by Sain over the course of nine days. The use of racist and provocative language is prevalent throughout the messages, however the messages appear to get more confrontational by the ninth day. WARNING: The language used is explicit and extremely offensive.
All misspelled words and incorrect grammar usage appears as written in the affidavit. Some offensive words have been censored.
An email sent to Fields, dated Wednesday, Feb. 13, 10:08 a.m. with a subject line of "GUN CONTROL" reads:
THANKS N----- C---! You really think passing any more laws will stop gun violence? You and that other N----- OBAMA are living in fantasy land. Chicago and DC have the most strict gun laws in the nation and more people die from gun violence than anywhere. You f---ing c---s are pathetic excuse for civil servants. Hell, n-----s love shooting themselves with GATS, isn't that what your people call it. What you have done here is creater criminals out of law abiding citizens, and put yourself out of a job. You politicians have no idea what you are even doing anyway, do you know how long it takes some to change a magazine, less than a second, so what if some with experience decides to flip out and bring their gun in with 5 or so 10 round magazines, they can do the same amount of damage. Limiting magazine sizes is stupididty, [sic] and will not work. I for one have 100+ 30 ronds mags and 150 round drums. I will never give those up and I am far from being some whack job. What I am pissed off at c--- n------ who know nothing about what they are doing and knee jerk react rather than look for a solution to fix the problem and enforce existing laws. We will all work very hard to ensure there is no job for you 2014. We will make it our mission to ensure each Democrat who supports this law is also out of a job.
Later that day on Feb. 13 another message from the same email arrived in Rep. Fields inbox reading:
Do you actually think that Americans will put up with this... I gurantee there is not enough law enforcement, or military to stop an all out overthrow of this government if you or that N----- President tries to take our guns... Guarantee we will make World War I and II look like childs play, many will die... be prepared...
On Feb. 14 and through most of Feb. 15, the emails are charged with racist epithets and also become less detailed, but then a final email on the late afternoon of Feb. 15 with more detailed threats arrived, according to the arrest affidavit:
Watching you live, you are a pathetic N----- C--- alnog with MCCANN, two c---- who are way overdue a good f---ing... and hopefully somebody Gifords both of your asses with a gun....... you are both pieces of monkey sh-- who have no right or reason to be in the position you are.... f--- off c---......
The final email references Rep. Beth McCann (D-Denver) along with Rep. Fields, who are co-sponsoring House Bill 1229 which calls for universal background checks for all gun purchases, including private sales.
It also references former Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords who was shot in the head by 22-year-old Jared Lee Loughner outside of a grocery store in 2011 during a meeting with constituents.
The affidavit then says on Thursday, Feb. 21 at around 11:00 a.m., Rep. Fields office received a threatening letter in the mail, one of the most deranged and terrifying of all the messages as it also references Fields' daughter:
Rhonda Fields, N----- C---, Mother of -----, Death to Both, All N----- Back to Africa, F--- you, F--- Your Laws, I Keep my 30 Round Magazines, There Will Be Blood!, I'm Coming For You, N----- B----
The affidavit goes on to describe threatening voicemail messages allegedly left by Sain. However, Sain, in the affidavit, told police that although he does use the email that the threatening, racist emails came from and admitted to sending the Colorado lawmaker emails, he claims he did not make any threats in those emails. "I did not make any threats in my emails," Sain stated to the police. "I know my emails are traceable and I wouldn't have done that... I'm just voicing some frustrations about a topic I consider sacred, especially after wearing a uniform and fighting for this country. When you have media pushing blame on gun owners, that just brings my emotions out."
Sain also said that sent some of the emails while watching Rep. Fields on television, but Sain denied that he used such explicit language and also denied that he was a racist. "I don't use words like that. C--- and other racist names, I don't sue that word when I talk. I'm not a racist. Those emails are not who I am."
The email referencing the shooting of Giffords and the final physical letter -- although the letter has not been definitively linked to Sain, but arrived during the same period the emails did according to the arrest affidavit -- appear to be the most outwardly threatening, suggesting physical violence in the email message and an outright call for violence in the final letter.
However, former chief deputy district attorney in Denver Karen Steinhauser told The Denver Post that although state law draws a line between free speech and criminal threat, it isn't always clear when someone crosses that line due to context of the threat, how it was delivered, the tone of the message and other challenging factors.