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Las Cruces ‘QAnon’ believer sentenced for threat


An unhinged and threatening voice mail message left for a Texas congresswoman in May has resulted in a prison sentence for a Las Cruces man.

Michael David Fox, 60, was portrayed in a federal complaint as readily admitting to two FBI agents that he was the caller who left the message in which he addressed the representative and said, “You’re a man. … You’re literally a tranny and a pedophile,” before threatening to “put a bullet” in her face and launching into a stream of obscenities.

Law enforcement traced the call to the mobile phone Fox used to make the call on May 18. A week later, FBI agents visited Fox’s home and played him a recording of the call, according to the complaint, to which Fox reportedly said, “That’s me.”

The federal complaint does not name the victim, but states that her district includes Houston. That could apply to five different House districts that touch Houston, three of which are represented by women who are all Democrats.

Fox pleaded guilty in September to interstate transmission of threatening communication. Because he targeted the victim for being transgender, even though the belief was false, he received a hate crime sentencing enhancement. Fox was sentenced by federal district judge Kenneth J. Gonzales to 12 months plus one day in prison and a $4,000 fine, to be followed by three years of supervised release with mandatory mental health treatment and other conditions.

Fox also told the investigators he was an adherent to the “QAnon” conspiracist movement which holds false beliefs that major states and corporations are involved in an international crime ring led by transgender people and pedophiles, which has its roots in internet posts dating back to approximately 2016. The ‘QAnon’ mythos involves an evolving fictitious landscape about an international cabal of satanic violence. While widely mocked, the outlandish conspiracism has led to occasional criminal acts including violence around the country, as when a man fired a weapon while investigating internet rumors at a Washington, D.C. restaurant in 2016.

Fox reportedly told the FBI agents in detail about “several different types of conspiracy theories indicating extreme far right ideologies” while explaining his actions.

“While everyone is entitled to believe irrational ideas, no belief entitles someone to threaten violence,” U.S. Attorney Alexander Uballez wrote in a public statement. “Hate crimes drive division and fear and we have no room for either. Federal law enforcement will stand up for our community by delivering very real consequences to very real threats, even when they are driven by fantasy.”

FBI Special Agent in Charge Raul Bujanda added, “Hate crimes are not only an attack on a victim; these violent acts threaten and intimidate an entire community.”

The case was prosecuted in New Mexico by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lindy Carpenter, and investigated by the Las Cruces subsidiary of the FBI’s Albuquerque field office.