A rural Mountain Home man is in jail after allegedly making more than 40 phone calls to the headquarters of CNN in Atlanta and making death threats toward CNN anchor Don Lemon.
The Baxter County Sheriff’s Office arrested 39-year-old Benjamin Craig Matthews on charges of terroristic threatening and harassing communications based upon a complaint received by the Atlanta, Ga. Police Department.
On Nov. 2, the sheriff’s office was contacted by an investigator with the Atlanta Police Department (APD) who is assigned to the Homeland Security Investigation Unit. The investigator stated they had taken a complaint report from the CNN headquarters in Atlanta that telephone calls had been received at the HQ making threats against CNN staff between Oct. 31 and Nov. 2. The content of these calls ranged from general harassment, threat of bodily injury, and calls threatening the life of a CNN journalist. More than 40 such calls had been received by CNN from the same person.
Information obtained by the Atlanta police investigator indicated all of the calls had been made from a cell phone belonging to Matthews. Audio recordings of the calls indicated they were all made by the same person. Someone with personal knowledge of Matthews listened to the recordings and attested to the fact that it was the voice of Matthews.
Additional investigation from the APD found that Matthews had made other recent phone calls to another television network, as well as to various public officials and organizations. The Baxter Bulletin is reporting the CNN journalist targeted was the network’s nighttime anchor Don Lemon and some of the various public officials called were U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, and attorney Michael Avenatti. (Click here for the Baxter Bulletin story.)
Matthews was taken into custody Nov. 6 and transported to the Baxter County Detention Center where he was booked yesterday afternoon on charges of five felony counts of terroristic threatening in the first degree; four misdemeanor counts of terroristic threatening in the second degree; and nine misdemeanor counts of harassing communications.
Matthews’ bond has been set at $15,000.
Benjamin Craig Matthews / Image via Baxter County Sheriff’s Office
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