Lawyers trying to get the Supreme Court to reverse a four-year prison term handed to a Pennsylvania man who published violent rap-style Facebook rants told the high court that his client was charged, in part, for referencing an Eminem song.
In the high court's upcoming term, the justices will hear arguments on the legal parameters of online speech, when a threat becomes deemed a "true threat" and not protected by the First Amendment. Defendant Anthony Elonis' 2010 Facebook rants concerned attacks on an elementary school, his estranged wife, and even the FBI.
His attorneys and other scholars who have weighed in suggest that the defendant, who was going through a divorce, was taking out his anger in a manner similar to the lyrics in rap music. He never intended to carry out any threats he posted on Facebook, they argue.