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Man convicted for sending hateful e-mail

graphic February 11, 1998
Web posted at: 1:11 p.m. EST (1811 GMT)

SANTA ANA, California (CNN) -- For the first time ever a federal jury has convicted a man for sending hate mail through cyberspace.

Richard Machado was convicted Tuesday of sending numerous hate mail messages to students of Asian descent at the University of California at Irvine. This was the second trial for Machado. His first trial ended in a deadlock last November.

Machado, who dropped out of U.C.-Irvine, testified during the six-day trial that he resented Asian-Americans' academic success. In his e-mails, he said he would "find," "hunt down" and "kill" the Asian-American students.

Although Machado testified in court that his threats had been a joke, U.S. attorney Nora A. Manella responded by saying that "a death threat is no joke, and a racially motivated death threat is a federal offense."

Machado, a naturalized citizen from El Salvador, will be sentenced on Friday. He faces a maximum sentence of one year in prison and a $100,000 fine.

His case has raised questions about the limits of free speech in cyberspace.

 
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