A Vinalhaven man has been convicted in federal court of making repeated threats to an employee of the Swedish Embassy in Washington, D.C.

A jury reached a swift verdict in a one-day trial in U.S. District Court in Portland on Monday. Court documents show Eric Malmstrom, 40, was found guilty of three counts of transmitting threatening interstate communications.

Court records said Malmstrom, who is of Swedish descent and had visited the country, repeatedly called the embassy, sometimes as many as 10 times in a day.

In the calls, he would threaten to attack the staff and their children. He also threatened to attack King Carl XVI Gustaf with a knife, according to court records.

“Threats made against public officials, whether those of the United States or of foreign governments serving their citizens in this country, cannot be taken lightly,” U.S. Attorney Halsey Frank said in a statement Tuesday. “People who make such threats should expect to be caught, charged and prosecuted.”

Court documents show Malmstrom placed hundreds of calls to the Swedish Embassy and the individual employee between September 2017 and March 2018. The evidence at trial showed that on three occasions this year, he threatened to slit the employee’s throat. He was arrested in March on a warrant issued at the request of the U.S. Secret Service.

The investigation involved both federal and local agencies.

“The Diplomatic Security Service is firmly committed to ensuring the safety and security of foreign diplomats in the United States,” said Bart Brown, director of the agency’s Office of Protective Intelligence Investigation. “This case is the result of a joint DSS investigation with the U.S. Secret Service and the Knox County Sheriff’s Department.”

Malmstrom faces up to five years in prison, a $250,000 fine and up to three years of supervised release. He has not yet been sentenced.

 

filed under: