Colorado Springs man charged with hate crime in threatening messages to Colorado Representative Rhonda Fields

7:17 PM, Mar 4, 2013   |    comments
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DENVER - Prosecutors charged a man of a hate crime in connection to threatening emails, letters and a voice mail directed towards Democratic Rep. Rhonda Fields of Aurora.

Franklin Sain, 42, was charged with attempt to influence a public servant and harassment-ethnic intimidation Monday.

Sain was arrested last week for sending Fields, who is sponsoring gun-control bills, harassing e-mails.

READ: Arrest Affidavit [Warning: Some explicit language]

Police said he admitted sending her six e-mails filled with profanity and sexual and racial epithets and left similar voice mails between Feb. 13 and 15.

Denver prosecutors allege the 42-year-old, who is white, tried to intimidate or harass Fields because she is black.

Sain was suspended from his job as chief operating officer of an information technology firm following his arrest.

He allegedly sent Fields a letter saying "There will be blood" and expressing hope that someone would "Gifords" her, an apparent reference to the wounding of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

He has been released on a $30,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in court March 8.

Sain's lawyer, Siddhartha Rathod, was critical of Fields. He said Sain was just exercising his First Amendment right and Fields is playing politics.

He released the following statement Tuesday evening:

"We are deeply concerned about the government's retaliation against Mr. Sain for his protected First Amendment political speech. We appreciate Representative Rhonda Fields's service to our community; however, we remind you that Mr. Sain valiantly served his country as a decorated Iraqi war veteran. Representative Fields appears to be furthering her political agenda by trampling on Mr. Sain's constitutionally protected free speech in order to infringe on all Coloradans' Second Amendment rights."

Craig Silverman, an attorney representing Rhonda Fields, released the following statement in response to Cain's lawyer:

"Representative Rhonda Fields is a victim of the criminal and despicable threats made by Franklin Sain. It is outrageous and offensive that Mr. Sain, through his lawyers, now continues this effort to intimidate and bully Rhonda Fields. No Coloradan need endure terroristic threats of the kind made by this accused felon. Our democracy will not function if government decision makers are subjected to this kind of brute intimidation."

Police can't remember a case like this in recent history.

Lawmakers from both parties can't remember such a nasty atmosphere in the Capitol. Republican Cheri Gerou, who's against gun control, says it was worst in the late-night floor debate.

"It was palpable. I mean, you could feel it with the state patrol. You could feel it with the sergeants. I could feel it," Gerou said. "It's one day where I didn't want to wear my badge on the floor, because it's not a day that you feel safe."

She's not sure if it's a bad mood trickling down from national politics. But she and many other lawmakers down here are hoping people can disagree in a civil way.

House Speaker Mark Ferrandino and at least two other House Democrats have received similar threats.

Fields' son was shot and killed in 2005 before he was able to testify against a gang member.

"I wasn't able to save my son, because he was murdered. He was ambushed alongside his fiancé, and I'm here to say enough is enough," Fields said previously in a gun-control debate in the House.

(KUSA-TV © 2013 Multimedia Holdings Corporation with The Associated Press)

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