On Monday, YouTuber Christopher Gunn was charged on allegations that he threatened to “storm” the offices of the federal prosecutors who tried the federal case against the artist known as R. Kelly.
Image of R. Kelly | Andrew Steinmetz Wiki Creative Commons license
Kelly, a famous R&B singer known for songs like “Bump and Grind” and “I Believe I Can Fly” was charged and convicted of federal racketeering and unlawful transportation charges under the Mann Act in September 2021.
Christopher Gunn, known by his YouTube persona “DeBoSki” is alleged to have told his viewers to “storm” the federal prosecutors’ office if Kelly was convicted. Gunn’s YouTube channel description includes a statement that he is “fighting for the due process rights of all people” and appears to refer to himself as “Mr. Due Process Himself.” In his videos, Dunn allegedly referred to firearms and disclosed the names of the prosecutors involved in the case. Kelly was convicted and there was no attempt to mount an assault on the federal offices.
Although speech is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, that right is regulated. Credible threats are not considered to be protected speech and a person can be arrested and convicted for making a true threat. A true threat is defined as “a statement that is meant to frighten or intimidate one or more specified persons into believing that they will be seriously harmed by the speaker or by someone acting at the speaker’s behest.“
This is not the first case where a person was accused of unlawful and inappropriate conduct in relation to the R. Kelly trial. Black Enterprise reports that a federal Bureau of Prisons employee leaked information about the case to YouTuber Tasha K. Meanwhile, R. Kelly is scheduled to be sentenced on the federal charges on June 29th, 2022 and is set to start a separate federal case in Illinois on August 1st.