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Indictment: Defense contractor threatened Florida lawmaker

By Nicholas Sakelaris
Indictment: Defense contractor threatened Florida lawmaker
Prosecutors said a Maryland man threatened the Florida lawmaker in a profanity laced voicemail. File Photo by Alex Edelman/UPI | License Photo

July 19 (UPI) -- Federal authorities have arrested and charged a Defense Department contractor with threatening a Florida congresswoman over a childhood vaccination bill.

A Justice Department indictment charges Darryl A. Varnum with a felony count of threatening a federal official. Prosecutors say Varnum sent a profanity laced voicemail and threatened to kill the lawmaker, who co-sponsored the Vaccinate All Children Act, a bill which ties federal health service grants to mandatory vaccinations in primary and secondary schools.

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Varnum said in the voicemail he doesn't care if the "FBI, CIA and everybody else hears this ... If you're taking away my rights. This is the United States of America," the indictment says.

A post on an account with Varnum's name depicted an American flag and read, "Holocaust has begun! I'm done with this [expletive]. Time to step up or ship out!"

"We take these types of violent threats extremely seriously," U.S. Attorney for Maryland Robert Hur told the Baltimore Sun. "The investigation began upon learning of the threats. Mr. Varnum was charged federally by criminal complaint and arrested on July 8."

Officials said Varnum's trial will start after he completes a 28-day alcohol rehabilitation program.

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The Sun reported Varnum has had a previous run-in with police -- in 2015, when an armed Varnum told his wife Islamic militants were coming to his home to fight.

Varnum has been a contractor at the Defense Information Systems Agency at Maryland's Fort Meade and has access to "sensitive information," the Sun report said.

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