Defendant Pleads Guilty to Threatening to Kill Walensky

Mississippi man also said he planned to kill Fauci
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 19, 2022 7:05 PM CST
Man Who Threatened to Kill CDC Director Pleads Guilty
Dr. Rochelle Walensky testifies on Capitol Hill in September.   (AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File)

A Mississippi man who threatened to kill Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky has pleaded guilty to making threats in interstate commerce, federal prosecutors announced Monday. Robert Wiser Bates, 39, of Ridgeland, threatened to kill Walensky in voicemails left in July 2021 at the CDC headquarters in Atlanta, court records said. Bates admitted to making the threatening calls in an interview with agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, according to a news release from the office the US Attorney Darren J. LaMarca, the AP reports.

Bates also said he would kill Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and chief medical adviser to the president. In August, a West Virginia man was sentenced to three years in federal prison after he sent emails threatening Fauci and another federal health official for talking about the coronavirus and efforts to prevent its spread. Bates is scheduled to be sentenced on March 7. He faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Bates' attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

(More Rochelle Walensky stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.