Man charged with threatening to kill US presidential candidates found dead

By Jasper Ward

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A New Hampshire man charged with threatening to kidnap and injure Republican presidential candidates last year has been found dead, a U.S. attorney said in a court filing on Thursday.

The jury had began their deliberations this week in the trial of Tyler Anderson, who had been accused of sending a series of threatening text messages to the candidates.

The U.S. attorney moved to dismiss the indictment against Anderson, saying: "The government has learned that the defendant is deceased. There is no case or controversy."

The circumstances or location of Anderson at the time of his death were not revealed.

Anderson's lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Anderson was arrested on Dec. 9 after federal agents and police tracked some texts to his home address and searched the premises, finding a cellphone with threatening messages sent to the campaigns of two candidates, according to an FBI affidavit.

He allegedly threatened to "impale" and "disembowel" one of the candidates in November, according to the April 24 indictment. The following month, he threatened to "blow" the head off another two candidates and conduct a mass shooting, it stated.

Anderson said during a FBI interview that he sent similar threatening messages to "multiple other campaigns," according to the FBI affidavit.

The U.S. Attorney's office did not name the candidates but court exhibit filings list text messages sent to the campaigns of former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy.

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said in December that the case reflected "an increase in threats of violence against public officials and those seeking public office across the country."

"These types of illegal threats undermine the function of our democracy," he said.

Cases of political violence have increased in the U.S. in recent years, a Reuters report found last year.

(Reporting by Jasper Ward, Editing by Rosalba O'Brien)