Eric Swarbrick, 26, of Austin Texas, pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court, to interstate stalking and sending interstate communications with the intent to threaten, announced U.S. Attorney Don Cochran for the Middle District of Tennessee. Swarbrick was charged in September 2018 and initially arrested in Travis County, Texas before being transferred to the Middle District of Tennessee. We have some of his letters in the story.
In January 2018, Big Machine Label Group (“BMLG”) in Nashville, began receiving letters from Swarbrick expressing his desire for BMLG CEO Scott Borchetta to introduce him to Taylor Swift, who at the time was a client of BMLG. In one letter, Swarbrick acknowledged that he had been wandering around the offices of BMLG in the past. Over time, the letters became increasingly violent and sexual in nature, with at least 40 letters and emails having been received by BMLG.
On three occasions, Swarbrick drove from Texas to Nashville and personally delivered letters to BMLG, including on August 2, 2018. On that date, Swarbrick attempted to gain entrance into BMLG’s office but was detained by security guards and arrested by the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department. After being released from custody in Nashville, Swarbrick continued to send at least 13 threatening letters and emails before the end of August 2018. In many of the letters, Swarbrick expressed his desire to rape and kill Taylor Swift and in one letter, he stated he would kill himself in front of Borchetta and his staff. Swarbrick is currently in the custody of the United States Marshal and will remain so until he is sentenced on March 6, 2020. He faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each count.
Late Thursday, lawyers representing Taylor Swift & her management company filed a restraining order against 26-year-old Eric Swarbrick, a man they say has been harassing Taylor Swift & her manager, Jesse “Jay” SchaudieAs, Jr. Swarbrick is current wanted on an outstanding capias warrant in Davidson County, for failing to appear in court for a related harassment charge on August 24th.
Even though Taylor Swift gets craze letters all the time, this is a whole new level of seriousness. The escalating factor here, is an email received on August 28, 2018, in which Swarbrick wrote to Scott Borchetta, CEO of Big Machine Records, with the subject line of “The End”. The email, in part:
“I want to rape Taylor Swift. This is why I hate Taylor herself. I’ve not only been a danger to others, but because of that a danger to myself… This is why I’m the last person in the world that she wants to be with, because I want to rape her and her specifically…. This is how I know I am Taylor’s soulmate, I want to rape her and her specifically. Not just anybody. Just her.
Prior to this, there were, dozens of actual letters, which Eric Swarbrick has written to Taylor Swift and her managers and record labels over the past 2 years. In the below letter, he describes how he is Ms. Swift’s soulmate, and he should be singing for Ms. Swift, and that he is the male version of Taylor Swift.
“I’ve never once had psychological stability; and yet, without ever having met her, spoken to her, seen her, been touched by her, or anything else along those lines, Taylor Swift seems to have driven me sane.”
Later in that letter, which was addressed to her manager, he continues “just the thought and idea of going on stage an your and Taylor’s request turns my love for Taylor and my respect for you into hatred for Taylor and violence toward you.” He then wrote he had “threatened to legally kill Taylor Swift”, but then states he will do no such thing because he would kill himself before he ever allows himself to push Taylor to kill herself. Swarbrick then talks about what would happen if he and Swift were together:
“If we were together, every moment she’d be with me, she wouldn’t necessarily be in danger, she’d be walking on eggshells if she walked with me – the worst kind of eggshells: deadly ones.”
Letters like this are just one of the reasons that the petition for a restraining order was filed on Thursday. The petition states that for the last 24 months, Eric Michael Swarbrick, of Austin Texas, has “been on a campaign to harass and physically threaten Ms. Taylor Swift & Jesse Schaudies., including this passage from an unsolicited letter written to Ms. Swift in February of 2017, where he asks her to become friends and engage in a “social adventure”:
“That’s when you know you’re on an adventure: you don’t know what’s gonna to happen. Maybe this ends in some sort of relationship, or maybe it ends with us exchanging a letter or two and then never communicating on a personal level again. Either way, I’m willing to accept and respect whatever end we come to.”
In October, Swarbrick writes Taylor Swift again, this time with an even more ominous tone:
“I come to you not to ask you to be my friend, my girlfriend, or my pupil. I come to you to plead for my life.. My end is at hand, and if I wait until then, to reach out to you, I fear it will be too late. I will be locked in a prison, a psychward [sic]. or a grave, and it will be both willful and eternal. This is what I’ve never been able to tell you, but have been needing to do since the beginning.”
In the same letter, he states the above statement is true “for one of a million different reason, but it all comes back to one undeniable reality: my psych is largely – if not entirely,, decayed; and if my life weren’t on the line, I’d laugh at the irony of that statement. Truly, the only thing keeping me afloat is my stabilizing spirit. The letter then continues:
“[m]y spirit will give out beneath the sheer weight of life, and my psyche will then overrun my spirit – thereby driving me totally mad. What I will soon ask of you is nether a safe nor easy task for you, but I have mitigated much of the risk..
He then compares himself to the Hulk, a fantasy pop culture figure, and continues on:
“I have learned to absolutely repress the metaphorical monster in me, but, very soon, I will become completely responsible for myself…. Not even I can stand up beneath that much hopelessness with no hope of a future. What logical conclusion is there other than death?”
He ends this letter by acknowledging that he has psychological issues: “Will you protect me from any unnecessary psychological triggers, and walk with me through the necessary ones?”. The pleading says that those statements have struck fear into both Taylor Swift and her manager, and a reading of all of the letters seem to show a rapid destabilization of his psychological well-being, and he, himself, even acknowledges he is a threat to himself and others, via the letters.
In another letter, this time sent to the head of her record label, Swarbrick writes:
“I imagine you see just another crazed person who poses not only a threat to what you and Taylor are seeking to accomplish, but to Taylor herself. I know what I am though, and I know what I am not. I may daily fight for my psychological life, but I pose zero threat to either you, or Taylor for one simple reason. I have respect”.
He continues on at length, even requesting a meeting with Taylor Swift, be cause he “is in love with her”. After he professes his love for Ms. Swift, he acknowledges that he has been “wandering around your label” on multiple occasions.
The author of these letters, Eric Swarbrick, then sent a signed typewritten letter, acknowledging that his intention in drafting all these letters “may have been to alarm you”, and announces he is aware of Swift’s New York residential address, and that he “saw God” during a visit to Nashville to visit Taylor Swift.
He continues in another letter that reveals his delusions, saying that he believes that Ms. Swift’s songs are written and sung to and about him and states that he has been trying to convince himself that he “was in fact a good guy (when, as I told you, I wasn’t).” Swarbrick the ends this letter by asking”
“Will you kill me?”
The understand was that he had realized the songs were not to or about him, and he then indicates his inability to stop thinking about Ms. Swift and he can’t leave her alone, and begged for his own death. Later on, he writes a letter to Scott Borchetta, Swift’s manager and CEO of Big Machine records, in part:
“Imagine what I’ve filled into my… journals in the last 4 years. Fear the 400 dreams I’ve recorded, and analyzed, and synthesized in the last 4 years – the likes of which have granted me sight into things unseen… Fear them, for many a morning I’ve seen you and Taylor.
“Keep fucking with me, Scott. I fucking dare you to ignore me one more time – thereby empowering me to become strong and independent enough to tear Taylor limb from limb (thereby pushing her to kill herself, and you to go out of business)”
Later, in the lengthy letter, he also writes that he really hates using force but he cannot do anything else when he’s ignore:
“I will continue writing you until I’m strong enough to enter society; and once I’ve entered, it’ll be too late. Taylor will die. I will ensure it.”
He then demand a call that day or he will begin his “finishing blow against Taylor”. Swarbrick says that a PI was sent to him after he made the first threat; the Nashville Sheriff’s Department the second time, and asks who he’s going to get this third time. He then closes by requesting a meeting, or “otherwise watch me kill her without killing her.”
In his next letter, he is much more outright in his threats to Scott, writing:
“I will not hesitate to kill her, Scott. I will kill her if you acquaint me and her. I will kill her, and there’s nothing you, your lawyers, or the law will be able to do about it. Remember who I am.”
The order was granted and signed by Judge Joe Binkley, and restrains Swarbrick from contacting Taylor Swift or her manager, or any associates, via phone, text, letters, or social media. It has several other provisions and can be read below:
Here are some portions of the letters:
This is the affidavit from her management team: