Seattle firefighter charged in connection with threatening Councilmember Kshama Sawant

Seattle firefighter charged in connection with threatening Councilmember Kshama Sawant

Andrew Finseth, 42, has been charged with second degree identity theft and two cases of cyberstalking. The former is a crime while the latter two charges are gross offenses.

In January, Sawant called for an investigation into the threats she received from a city official’s email address. She had received an email on December 17th, one on December 19th, one on January 4th, and one on January 18th from a firefighter’s email address. The first email told Sawant to get out of town and “jump off her building” and say they would help her. The second email was “Out of town or otherwise”. The later two emails made vague warnings asking her to leave and saying someone would force her to do so.

Sawant said she took the threats seriously and changed her daily activities since receiving them.

“I believe these emails must be very much given the current political context with an encouraged right wing nationally, the specific threatening content of the emails, and the fact that they came from a Seattle city email account be taken seriously, “Sawant said in a statement.

The firefighter whose email address was used also received referral requests to his captain that he was unaware of. His captain asked about them and when he looked through his emails he found the emails that were being sent to Sawant.

He declined to send the emails, and later a city IT person traced the emails to Finseth’s IP address.

Finseth was sent to King County Jail on February 12 and released the next day on personal approval. He was instructed not to contact Sawant.

He claimed he sent the emails to frame the other firefighter as he knew he lived in Sawant’s district. Finseth said he always got away with things and wanted him to be punished for something.

In 2018, Finseth was named Firefighter of the Year by his department.

Finseth had a trial scheduled for March 3rd, during which he will file a plea.