Chris King, the stand-up comedian who was arrested by U.S. Secret Service agents after tweeting death threats to the White House, has agreed to plead guilty.
According to filings in federal court in Burlington, King (pictured) will plead guilty on April 13 to a single count of threatening to kill the President of the United States. The plea comes with a possible sentence of up to five years in prison, up to three years of supervised release and up to $250,000 in fines, according to the plea agreement.
In August, the 43-year-old King, who lives in Bellows Falls, tweeted a message to @WhiteHouse, from the handle @SmellyOlTerriss, that read "I am dying inside. And I am plainly stating to you that I am going to kill the president."
Secret Service agents arrested King at his home shortly after for the federal crime of "threats against the president and successors to the presidency." Agents had visited King at home at least once before for things he wrote on his blog.
Raised in Vermont, King worked as a stand-up comic in the Orlando, Florida area under the name "Chris King Pop Icon" in venues like Will's Pub before moving back to Vermont in 2005 to care for his ailing father, according to published reports and court records. His stand-up material was a mix of political humor, gonzo rants, conspiracy theories and penis jokes, according to those who knew him in Florida.
Nothing suggests King's threat was a joke, though federal prosecutors have said they do not believe King attempted to carry out his threat against Obama. (Side note: King did pay a visit to Sen. Patrick Leahy's office in Washington D.C. on June 28, 2010 — and filmed it. Ustream video below).
King's public defender has said there is a "mental health component" to the case and the government's lawyer, Assistant U.S. Attorney Barbara Masterson, pointed to King's apparent belief that 9/11 was an inside job as evidence of possible mental illness.
Unlike some other cases, in which Twitter users had accounts taken down for making "death tweets" to the president, King's Twitter account is still up, albeit dormant. Ditto for his super-prolific blog, "Chris King Pop Icon." While in federal custody, King has been barred from using the Internet except to look for a job. The plea agreement says nothing about whether his use of the Internet will be restricted after sentencing.