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A Utah man is being charged for making a terrorist threat by federal authorities. He allegedly called in a false bomb threat to a hospital while his wife was giving birth there; apparently, he was upset because he couldn't attend the event, the Associated Press reports.
Michael Morlang was indicted Wednesday and faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Utah said in a press release. Morlang's fraudulent phone call forced the hospital to evacuate and be on lock-down for a day in September.
The defendant's wife and her father told investigators the day of the incident that Morlang made the bomb threat because he was angry about not being there for the birth, according to reports in state charges filed in September. The state charges are being dropped now that federal authorities stepped in to prosecute Morlang, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office spokeswoman Melodie Rydalch.
Morlang's father-in-law also told investigators that Morlang was upset because he had heard that his wife was going to have a procedure to prevent having more pregnancies. Morlang was in Idaho while his wife was giving birth in Utah.
The accused claimed not to know of any threat to the hospital when questioned by police on the phone after the incident. The Richfield City Police reported that they reached Morlang while he was on a bus that day but could not contact him thereafter.
Morlang is in custody in Idaho on an unrelated crime. He has been charged with one count of threat of terrorism.
As this story suggests, making a threat can be a big deal. It can be, as here, literally a federal case. But states also have authority to prosecute such threats and they are taken very seriously as true stories of terrorism increasingly take over the news.
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