Man to plead guilty to threatening Boston Globe journalists

Robert Chain was arrested in August after authorities say he made a series of calls threatening the lives of Globe staff.

Chain leaves the John Joseph Moakley United States Courthouse after an appearance.
Robert Chain leaves court in Boston, Sept. 24, 2018. –Pat Greenhouse / The Boston Globe, File

BOSTON (AP) — A Los Angeles man will plead guilty to threatening to kill journalists at The Boston Globe over the newspaper’s criticism of President Donald Trump, his lawyer said on Monday.

Robert Chain was arrested in August after authorities say he made a series of calls threatening the lives of Globe staff in retaliation for its coordinated editorial response to Trump’s frequent attacks on the news media. He had been scheduled to stand trial in June.

Chain’s attorney said the man plans to plead guilty to all counts against him and “take full responsibility for his actions.”

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“He is anxious to make a full, public apology, expressing his sincere remorse to those he affected,” attorney William Weinreb said in an email.

A plea hearing has been scheduled for May 15.

Authorities say Chain’s threatening phone calls started after the Globe appealed in August to newspapers across the country to denounce what it called a “dirty war against the free press.”

The day hundreds of editorials were published across the country Chain told a Globe staffer that he was going to shoot employees in the head at 4 o’clock, authorities said. That threat prompted a police response and increased security at the newspaper’s offices.

In some calls, authorities say Chain called Globe employees the “enemy of the people,” a characterization of journalists that Trump has used repeatedly.

Chain, who is retired from the international sales and trade business, said in 2013 he hadn’t worked in more than 20 years and suffered from “continuing health issues,” according to court documents filed in a civil case against him over unpaid student loans.

Chain, of the Encino section of Los Angeles, said at the time that he had a heart attack in 2005 and was receiving Social Security benefits.

He was indicted by a grand jury in September on seven counts of use of interstate and foreign commerce to transmit a threat to injury another person for seven threatening phone calls. The charge carries up to five years in prison.

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An email was sent Monday to a spokeswoman for the Globe.