DENVER (CBS4) – The lawyer for a business executive whose company suspended him after he was arrested for making threats against a state legislator says his client was just exercising his right to free speech.
Franklin Sain is accused of sending profane and racially charged emails to State Rep. Rhonda Fields and threatening her daughter because of her support for stricter gun control.
Siddhartha Rathod, an attorney with Rathod and Mohamedbhai LLC, told CBS4 this week his client has done nothing wrong.
“The First Amendment protects speech that may be unpopular,” Rathod said.
The Colorado State Patrol said it is providing extra security for Fields, who called the threats “very racial, very threatening.”
“They were harassing and he meant it,” Fields said.
The Colorado House passed four gun measures last week, including the two that Fields sponsored. One requires background checks on all firearm purchases, including those conducted online and between private sellers. Another bill would limit the size of ammunition magazines to 15 rounds for firearms and eight for shotguns.
The measures will be heard in the Democrat-controlled Senate next week.
Rathod said Sain is a decorated Iraq War veteran who has “honorably served his country and has fought for First and Second Amendment rights for all Americans.” He said fields is using the case to promote her gun control measures.
“Rep Fields is attempting to gain a political advantage on the Second Amendment debate on gun control by trampling Mr. Sain’s First Amendment rights,” Rathod said.
CBS4 asked Rathod about the statements police documents showed were in the threats.
“He threatens to kill Rep. Fields and her daughter, wants to send them to Africa and calls them the “N’ word. Do you think that’s protected under the First Amendment?” CBS4’s Tom Mustin asked.
“That’s incorrect. I think you’re misstating what the alleged emails say,” Rathod said.
Sain is chief operating officer of Englewood-based SofTec Solutions, a technology services consulting firm. SofTec Solutions suspended Sain on Tuesday. (FULL STORY)
Fields said she’s “just really surprised that someone of that kind of stature would take out that kind of hatred towards me.”
Field’s attorney also issued a statement saying “is outrageous and offensive that Mr. Sain, through his lawyers, now continues this effort to intimidate and bully Rhonda Fields.”
“Our democracy will not function if government decision makers are subjected to this kind of brute intimidation,” the lawyer wrote.
“No Coloradoan needs to endure terroristic threats of the kind made by this accused felon.”
Sain is due in court on March 8 and faces a felony charge.