Jury finds man who allegedly threatened ICE agents over Twitter not guilty after testimony

John Joseph Moakley United States Courthouse, Boston, Mass. Photo by Chris O'Brien/BU News Service

By Stella Lorence
BU News Service

BOSTON — Defendant Brandon Ziobrowsky was found not guilty after he testified before a full court house on the fourth day of trial in U.S. District Court on Friday.

Ziobrowsky, 33, faced one count of using interstate commerce to issue a threat to injure another person after he tweeted, “I am broke but I will scrounge and literally give $500 to anyone who kills and ICE agent. @me seriously who else can pledge get in on this let’s make it work,” on July 2, 2018.

The purpose of his tweet was to “communicate with friends, comment on things, make jokes,” Ziobrowsky said Friday.

“I want no one to die,” Ziobrowsky said in his testimony.  

Ziobrowsky testified that he did not know that the FBI was arresting people for tweeting when he published the July 2 tweet and that he would not have done so had he known.

FBI agents visited Ziobrowsky’s Cambridge residence with a search warrant on July 11, 2018 at 6:30 a.m., court records indicate.

“I was asked a ton of questions about tweets of mine and my political opinions,” Ziobrowsky said. “I responded to all of the questions.”

Agents also seized all of his electronic devices, including his laptop, current phone, old phones, external hard drives, camera storage cards, an iPad and a Kindle, according to Ziobrowsky.

“They wanted to find out whether I was dangerous, whether I wanted to hurt anybody, whether I belonged to a group,” Ziobrowsky said. 

He said he doesn’t belong to any group or own firearms or explosive devices.

Ziobrowsky’s father, Robert Ziobrowsky, testified before his son Friday. Robert said he was shown his son’s tweet by FBI agents who came to his Pennsylvania residence and asked his reaction.

“I thought [the July 2 tweet] was really stupid,” Robert said in his testimony. “I thought it was trash talk. The tweet contradicted everything I know about my son.”

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