Utah Man Pleads Guilty For Threatening CEO
DENVER – Robert Hutchins, age 60, of Sandy, Utah, pled guilty yesterday before Chief U.S. District Court Judge Marcia S. Krieger to interstate communications involving a threat, U.S. Attorney John Walsh and FBI Denver Division Special Agent in Charge Thomas Ravenelle announced. Hutchins appeared at the change of plea hearing free on bond. Hutchins is scheduled to be sentenced on February 10, 2014. He was originally indicted by a federal grand jury in Denver on July 10, 2013.
According to the stipulated facts contained in the plea agreement, in 2012, the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) had been investigating allegations that cyclist Lance Armstrong had achieved his prodigious record by cheating; by “doping” and using drugs and other improper means to win. As the investigation heated up in the summer of 2012, Chief Executive Officer of USADA, Travis Tygart, received a barrage of negative public comment, mostly via emails, about USADA’s investigation. In August 2012, it was anticipated that USADA would announce its findings, including that Lance Armstrong would banned from cycling for life. On August 23, 2012, Lance Armstrong released a press statement that he would not challenge USADA’s findings. The negative emails intensified. On August 24, 2012, USADA, as predicted, made the announcement that Lance Armstrong would be banned from cycling for life and disqualified of all his competitive results from August 1, 1998, through August 24, 2012. This disqualification included being stripped of his seven Tour de France titles.
Among the members of the public who were angry over USADA’s methods and conclusions was the defendant, Mr. Hutchins. Beginning in July 2012, Mr. Hutchins sent two emails USADA voicing his displeasure. Those emails, while scathing in tone and full of invective, were not threatening.
On the evening of August 23, 2012, Mr. Hutchins crossed the line and made threats to Travis Tygart. The email was sent to one of USADA’s email addresses with the subject line “Travis Tygert [sic] Hope you have body guards and bullet proof vest.” The email read as follows:
Travis Tygert [sic], Hope you have body guards and bullet proof vest, your [sic] a dead man mother f@%&*#. You just don’t know what you’ve done!!!
You’re a** is f@%&*#.
The email was traced to Mr. Hutchins in Sandy, Utah. As a result of the threatening email sent on August 23, 2012, Mr. Travis Tygart hired private security for himself and his family, and moved his family to a secure location while the FBI investigated the source of the threat.
Hutchins faces not more than 5 years in federal prison, and up to a $250,000 fine.
In an unrelated case, Gerrit Kuechle Keats, a Florida doctor, pled guilty on October 7, 2013 to sending threatening communications over the internet to Mr. Tygart for similar reasons. Keats is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge R. Brooke Jackson on January 23, 2014.
This case was investigated by the FBI.
The defendant is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Valeria Spencer.