Benjamin Craig Matthews, a 39-year-old man from Arkansas, has been arrested after a series of violent threats directed at CNN anchor Don Lemon. The Baxter County Sheriff’s Office announced that Matthews was taken into custody. The CNN headquarters in Atlanta reportedly received more than 40 threatening calls between October 31 and November 2 all from the same number, according to Arkansas Online.
Matthews has been charged with five felony counts of terroristic threatening, nine misdemeanor counts of harassing communications, and four misdemeanor counts of second-degree terroristic threatening.
“Audio recordings of the phone calls indicate that all of the calls were made from the same male subject,” according to the affidavit. “A person who has personal knowledge of Benjamin Matthews agreed to listen to samplings of the phone calls. The person positively identified the voice as that of Benjamin Matthews.”
Reports indicate he also made threatening messages to MSNBC, U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, attorney Michael Avenatti, Washington Speakers Bureau, and Planned Parenthood.
The report states:
In several calls, Matthews threatened a CNN journalist described in court documents as DL.
In one call, according to the affidavit, Matthews asked the CNN switchboard operator, “Could I be directed to DL’s dead body hanging from a tree?”
Another time, Matthews asked if his call could be directed to “pipe bombs for DL.”
In another call, Matthews spoke of “bloody pictures of DL cut up in small pieces, like the movie Saw,” according to the affidavit from Sgt. Brad Hurst with the Baxter County sheriff’s office.
Matthews was taken to Baxter County jail with bail set at $15,000 and is currently awaiting trial.
This is just the latest instance of CNN being a target of threats. At the end of October, the CNN studios in New York City were the target of a serial pipe bomber who sent suspicious, explosive-laden packages to the network and other prominent Democrats around the country like Barack Obama, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Senator Kamala Harris, and prominent donor George Soros.
The suspect, 56-year-old Donald Trump enthusiast Cesar Altieri Sayoc, was arrested and charged with five federal crimes, including interstate transportation of an explosive and illegal mailing of explosives.