The 28-year-old Norwegian tourist who was accused in August of threatening to kill police officers pleaded guilty Monday in U.S. District Court in Portland to making threatening interstate communications, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Espen Brungodt of Bergen, Norway, was on vacation in Portland on Aug. 3 when he sent detailed electronic messages to police via both email and Facebook threatening to kill officers outside the police headquarters on Middle Street, according to U.S. Attorney Thomas E. Delahanty II.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Conley said Brungodt faces a sentence of up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

His sentencing date has not been set, but Delahanty’s office said Brungodt is expected to apply to serve his sentence in his home country through a prisoner transfer program.

In interviews with police immediately after his arrest on Aug. 3, Brungodt admitted to sending the emails, authorities have said.

He also told investigators he had been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, and had become obsessed with being arrested in America. An FBI agent later testified at a probable cause and bail hearing that Brungodt told authorities he had no intentions of carrying out the threats, but that he felt an adrenaline rush when he watched police respond from his hotel window.

At his bail hearing, Arvid Andersen, Brungodt’s father, said he was shocked by the allegations, and said his son showed no signs he planned to make the threats before doing so.

Andersen said Brungodt first showed signs of Asperger’s as a toddler, and has lived under some form of supervision his entire life.

Brungodt’s attorney, David Beneman, declined to comment Monday.

The presentencing process is likely to take about a month, Conley said.

To complete his sentence in Norway, Brungodt would have to apply to the International Prisoner Transfer Program, which began in 1977. Under the program, both U.S. and Norwegian officials, as well as Brungodt, would have to agree to the transfer.

“The program is designed to relieve some of the special hardships that fall upon offenders incarcerated far from home, and to facilitate the rehabilitation of those offenders,” Delahanty’s office said.

Conley could not comment on whether Brungodt, if transferred, would have to serve the sentence imposed in the United States, or whether it could be modified later by Norwegian courts.

“Eligible inmates approved for transfer will be transferred to or from foreign countries under the treaty and the receiving country will be responsible for administering the transferred sentence in accordance with their laws,” according to an outline of the program provided by the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

The threatening messages, which were also sent to the Portland Press Herald, triggered an immediate lockdown of the parking garage next to the Portland police station and of the Cumberland County Courthouse nearby on Newbury Street, as police searched for any possible threats and for the message’s sender.

Some of the messages were sent from a Gmail account in Brungodt’s name or from his Facebook account. Another message was tweeted from an account Brungodt created specifically to make the threats.

In one message, titled “time for more police officers to die,” Brungodt implied he and an accomplice or accomplices were planning to carry out a coordinated attack.

“We are getting our Sig Sauer MCX .223-caliber rifles ready, and very soon, my partners will head down to the Portland Police Department on 109 Middle St.”

Within hours, Brungodt was arrested in the lobby of the Residence Inn hotel on Fore Street, where he had been staying.

Asked whether there were any imminent threats at the time of his arrest, Brungodt said no, and that the messages “had the desired effect.”

He has since been held without bail at the Cumberland County Jail.

Brungodt had been traveling in New England with his father and his sister, Linn Therese Brungodt, at the time of his arrest. They had first visited Boston for five days, then North Conway in New Hampshire for two days, and planned to end the trip with a two-day stay in Portland before flying out from Boston on Aug. 4.

After his arrest, people who know Brungodt said the allegations were baffling, and that Brungodt was a painfully quiet, passive young man who enjoyed all-day movie marathons and never seemed to bear animosity toward authorities or have any intimate knowledge of firearms.

Matt Byrne can be contacted at 791-6303 or at:

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