Trial set for man charged with threatening Muslim candidate

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — A federal trial is scheduled to begin Thursday for a North Carolina man charged with anonymously threatening to lynch a Muslim-American man campaigning for a state Senate seat in Virginia.

Court records say jury selection for Joseph Cecil Vandevere’s trial is set to get underway Thursday morning in Asheville, North Carolina.

Vandevere was charged in June with interstate communication of a threat to injure a person in connection with a tweet directed at Qasim Rashid. The tweet included a picture of a lynching and read, “VIEW YOUR DESTINY.”

Rashid posted a screenshot of the threatening tweet in March 2018 and reported it to the FBI. Rashid, a Democrat, lost his Nov. 5 bid to oust an incumbent Republican state senator in Virginia.

In September, U.S. District Judge Max Cogburn Jr. rejected Vandevere’s argument that his indictment must be dismissed on grounds of First Amendment free speech.

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