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story.lead_photo.caption Benjamin Craig Matthews, 39 - Photo by Baxter County sheriff's office

A Mountain Home man was arrested Tuesday, accused of making threatening telephone calls to CNN headquarters in Atlanta.

Benjamin Craig Matthews, 39, made more than 40 threatening calls to CNN from Oct. 31 to Nov. 2, according to a probable-cause affidavit filed in Baxter County Circuit Court.

In several calls, Matthews threatened a CNN journalist described in court documents as DL.

In one call, according to the affidavit, Matthews asked the CNN switchboard operator, "Could I be directed to DL's dead body hanging from a tree?"

Another time, Matthews asked if his call could be directed to "pipe bombs for DL."

In another call, Matthews spoke of "bloody pictures of DL cut up in small pieces, like the movie Saw," according to the affidavit from Sgt. Brad Hurst with the Baxter County sheriff's office.

CNN has been a consistent target of President Donald Trump.

M.J. Condland, an investigator from the Atlanta Police Department, contacted the Baxter County sheriff's office Friday about the investigation underway in Georgia. Condland is assigned to the Police Department's Homeland Security investigation unit.

The threatening calls were made from a cellphone belonging to Matthews, according to the affidavit. Cell tower data indicated that the calls were placed from Baxter County.

"Audio recordings of the phone calls indicate that all of the calls were made from the same male subject," according to the affidavit. "A person who has personal knowledge of Benjamin Matthews agreed to listen to samplings of the phone calls. The person positively identified the voice as that of Benjamin Matthews."

Matthews' telephone records indicate that he had also made calls to MSNBC; U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif.; U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.; attorney Michael Avenatti; Washington Speakers Bureau; and Planned Parenthood, "suggesting a pattern of harassment towards certain political affiliations," according to the affidavit.

Matthews has been charged with five counts of felony terroristic threatening, four counts of misdemeanor terroristic threatening and nine counts of harassing communications, which is a misdemeanor.

Matthews was in the Baxter County jail Wednesday with bail set at $15,000. He is scheduled to appear in Baxter County Circuit Court today.

Metro on 11/08/2018

Print Headline: Arkansan charged in threats to CNN

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