A Florida man accused of threatening a Charlottesville City Council candidate pleaded guilty Thursday to two charges related to online threats.
Daniel McMahon, 31, of Brandon, Florida, was initially indicted last year by a grand jury in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia on four counts: willful interference with a candidate for elective office; bias-motivated interference with a candidate for elective office; threats to injure in interstate commerce; and cyberstalking.
Last year, McMahon pleaded not guilty to the four charges, but withdrew his plea in February.
During a video conference hearing Thursday the government presented revised charges of election interference and cyberstalking, which carry prison sentences of up to one year and five years, respectively.
According to the initial indictment, prior to Jan. 7, 2019, an African American resident of Charlottesville, identified by the initials D.G., was planning to announce he would seek a Democratic nomination for the City Council the following day.
McMahon used the internet and social media accounts to threaten physical harm, intimidate and interfere with D.G.’s campaigning, according to the indictment. Instead of announcing his candidacy on Jan. 8, D.G. announced he would not seek public office, federal prosecutors wrote.
The cyberstalking charge comes from a separate string of incidents in September 2019 that came to the government’s attention after McMahon’s arrest. The victim is not the same individual that the first charge resulted from, according to the government.
McMahon is believed also to use the name “Jack Corbin” online, a moniker that had been used to target reporters and activists with threats via Twitter and Gab.
Despite technical difficulties and a few sidebars between McMahon and his defense attorney, the Thursday hearing was short with little new information being presented.
The government will have an opportunity to present further evidence at McMahon’s sentencing, which is tentatively set for July 23.