Lawyers in the case of the Norwegian tourist accused of sending emails threatening to kill Portland police officers are looking into the possibility that the man could be transferred as a prisoner back to his native country if he is convicted here.

Espen Brungodt, 28, of Bergen, Norway, has yet to be indicted in U.S. District Court in Portland on a charge of sending threatening interstate communications and is not yet required to enter a plea. Defense and prosecuting attorneys submitted a joint motion Friday seeking more time before the government presents its case to a grand jury.

“Specifically, the government is in the process of exploring whether and to what extent the defendant would qualify for the Department of Justice’s International Prisoner Transfer Program. Defense counsel is making additional inquiries with the Norwegian Consulate of New York,” both Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Conley and Federal Defender David Beneman wrote in the motion.

The motion includes a footnote explaining that the International Prisoner Transfer Program began in 1977 when the United States negotiated its first treaty to transfer prisoners from the countries where they have been convicted to their home countries.

“The program is designed to relieve some of the special hardships that fall upon offenders incarcerated far from home, and to facilitate the rehabilitation of these offenders. Prisoners may be transferred to and from those countries with which the United States have a treaty. The United States has entered into such a treaty with the Kingdom of Norway,” the footnote says.

Brungodt is accused of sending emails from his Gmail account while staying at the Residence Inn in Portland’s Old Port with the subject line “Time for more police officers to die” to Portland Assistant Chief Vernon Malloch and other members of the Portland police, as well as other law enforcement agencies and two staff members at the Portland Press Herald.

He told police after his arrest Aug. 3 that he suffers from a mental disorder, Asperger’s syndrome, that caused him to be obsessed with the idea of being arrested in America, an FBI agent testified in court Tuesday.

The email, which is included in court documents, said he and an unknown number of partners were “getting our Sig Sauer MCX .223-caliber rifles ready, and very soon, my partners will head down to Portland Police Department on 109 Middle St. There they will shoot and kill as many police officers as they can.”

Police found no weapons on Brungodt and did not ultimately believe the threat was credible, but it caused a panic in downtown.

The messages triggered a lockdown of the Cumberland County parking garage on Newbury Street while officers with dogs searched for explosives. The nearby Cumberland County Courthouse was evacuated and closed for the rest of the day on Aug. 3 as a precaution.

Brungodt had been traveling in New England with his father, Arvid Andersen, and his sister, Linn Therese Brungodt, at the time of his arrest. They first visited Boston for five days, then North Conway in New Hampshire for two days, and planned to end the trip with a two-day stay in Portland before flying out from Boston on Aug. 4.

A judge has yet to rule on the motion seeking the extension in the case, but such joint requests are routinely granted by the court, allowing the case to deviate from the precise scheduling requirements under federal law.

Brungodt remains in custody at the Cumberland County Jail in Portland after a federal magistrate judge Tuesday denied his request to be released on bond while the case is pending and go back to Norway with a promise to return to be prosecuted.

Beneman said in a telephone interview that he has already been in contact with the Norwegian Consulate of New York to talk about his client.

“They are following it closely, and they have been very helpful,” Beneman said of the consulate.

Beneman declined to comment directly on his talks regarding Brungodt’s case, but said he has traveled to foreign countries on other cases to arrange for Americans convicted abroad to be returned to the United States.

Conley declined to comment Friday.

If convicted, Brungodt faces up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.


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