Bryan Brandenburg, co-founder of FanX Salt Lake Comic Convention, was arrested at his Waipahu home in Hawaii on May 23 reports the Deseret News and appeared in a Hawaii federal court the following day to face charges of transmitting threats in interstate commerce, and threatening and conveying false information concerning the use of an explosive. Federal prosecutors are seeking to hold Brandenburg in jail until his case is adjudicated, court records say.
The FBI agent’s affidavit in the charging document filed by Federal attorneys on May 20 (available at Bleeding Cool) details the threats.
Brandenburg sent emails on May 4 to people in Utah threatening to bomb the 3rd District Courthouse in Salt Lake City, the State Capitol, the Mayor’s office, every Ivy League School, and the Federal Courthouse in San Diego. Two days later, he sent emails to people in Utah threatening to bomb Hall Labs and the University of Utah Center for Medical Innovation.
Previously, on March 8, Brandenburg had emailed a Judicial Case Manager with the Utah State Courts, Third District, Salt Lake City asking when he would get a ruling on his divorce. The Manager informed Brandenburg that the judge had 60 days to make a ruling. On April 29, Brandenburg emailed the Court, “60 days is today. I look forward to ending this nightmare. Thank you.”
On May 2, Brandenburg emailed the Court, “I want a fucking divorce in Utah.” A Judicial Assistant with the Utah State Courts, Third District, Salt Lake City, replied: “Sir, your language will not be tolerated.”
On May 3, Brandenburg wrote to the Court:
a. “Your broken promise of a ruling in 60 days will not be tolerated children.”
b. “So go fuck yourself. All of you”
c. “I guess I’ll just have to bomb the city
On May 4, The Judicial Case Manager and Judicial Assistant received emails from Brandenburg’s gmail account at their Utah court email addresses. In separate emails he wrote among other things:
a. 6:59 AM= “Thanks for finally sending my Divorce decision. You can still fuck the fuck off.”
b. 7:08 AM = “We’re still going to bomb the 3rd District Courthouse. Hae [sic] a nice day.”
c. 7:26 AM = “Now we’re going to bomb the State Capital.. .. “
d. 7:28 AM “And then …. We’ll bomb the mayor’s office … “
e. 7:34 AM = “And then, we’re going to level the sacred temple … “
f. 7:37 AM= “And then …. We’ll level the Rockefeller Center in NYC … “
g. 8:00 AM = “And NOW … WE’RE BOMBING EVERY IVY LEAGUE SCHOOL, STARTING WITH MIT, YALE, AND HAAARRRVVVV ARDDDD … ”
h. 8:38 AM = “We’re bombing the Federal Couthouse in San Diego to teach them a lesson … [This message included a screenshot picture of the Federal Courthouse in San Diego and its address.]
The Judicial Case Manager, after receiving the email that threatened to bomb the courthouse where they were working at that time, notified the Head of Security.
On May 6, four media people located in Utah received emails from Brandenburg’s gmail account saying: “Hall Labs is Frankenstein Inc. They put illegal medical devices in me without my knowledge or permission with U ofU [University of Utah] Center for Medical Innovation. We’re bombing both campuses today for crimes against humanity. Bryan Brandenburg”
The four media people were an employee of the Salt Lake City Weekly, a co-host of a Salt Lake City, Utah morning show, a reporter and editor at the Salt Lake Tribune, and an editor of the Utah InDepth Team.
The Tribune reporter notified the University of Utah police department, which evacuated the U of U Center for Medical Innovation located in the basement level of the Health Sciences Library. The police department conducted a bomb sweep of the buildings using explosive scenting dogs. After an extensive search police declared the scene safe as no explosive devices were uncovered, and evacuees were allowed back into the buildings.
That same day, FBI special agents in Hawaii interviewed Brandenburg, who confirmed he had used the gmail address to send the bomb threats. Furthermore, he read the emails out loud to agents and acknowledged sending them (excerpt for the threat to the Federal Court in San Diego which they didn’t learn about until later). Brandenburg told the agents he sent the emails to get their attention and to pressure the “court” and “family” so he could get his money back that they stole from him. He was unhappy with how long it took the judge to rule on his divorce case and believed the court and his family worked together to take his money.
Brandenburg faces two counts of federal charges related to the threats. He faces a maximum punishment of 15 years in prison.
Brandenburg is no longer part of FanX Salt Lake Comic Convention, which originally was named Salt Lake Comic Con. While he was still a co-owner of the company that ran the event, they were embroiled in a years-long lawsuit that ended with San Diego Comic Con successfully barring them from using “Comic Con” in their name, followed by the judge granting a crushing award of $4 million in attorneys fees to San Diego Comic Con.
In 2018 Brandenburg also faced allegations he mishandled harassment concerns at FanX. After his apologies did not defuse the controversy, Brandenburg took a leave of absence, and he sold his interest in the convention in Spring 2019.
[Via SMOF News and Bleeding Cool.]