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Ohio man faces prison sentence for threatening to kill Trump on Twitter

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Image source: Cuyahoga Sheriff's Department

An Ohio man made an appearance in court Thursday after his tweet prompted a Secret Service investigation.

Zachary Benson, 24, is facing up to five years in prison if convicted of making threats against the president or successors to the presidency, a federal Class E felony.

According to the criminal complaint filed, Benson wrote the questionable tweet in the early hours of Nov. 9, after the presidential election results were announced. He said, "My life goal is to assassinate Trump. Don’t care if I serve infinite sentences. That man deserves to decease [sic] existing.”

Apparently realizing he had gone too far, he deleted the posts later that morning, but not before the Secret Service was notified. Investigators said that, although Benson's Twitter account has since been deleted, he admitted to posting the tweets but told the Secret Service that he had no intention of following through on the threats.

The affidavit says Benson wrote the tweet out of frustration "thinking about how President-elect Trump’s policies could affect [his] job."  His occupation is not specified in the affidavit.

Benson was ordered held on a $20,000 unsecured bond in the U.S. District Court in Cleveland.  A federal grand jury will determine whether he is indicted, but presently no follow up court date has been set.

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